Skipper rescued from pirates honored by alma mater

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Bourne, Mass. (AP) - The captain of a U.S. cargo ship who surrendered himself to Somali pirates to spare his sailors says leadership means taking care of the crew.

Capt. Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vt., was recognized Wednesday as the 2009 Mariner of the Year by the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where he graduated in 1979.

During a speech, Phillips advised the academy's cadets that they need to lead by example.

It was the first time he had returned to campus since four Somali pirates seized the Maersk Alabama in April. Phillips offered himself as a hostage and was held for five days in one of his ship's lifeboats.

He was freed when U.S. Navy Snipers shot and killed three of his teenage captors. A fourth was flown to New York and indicted Tuesday on piracy and other charges.

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