Lloyd’s List Honours Heroic Captain

By Prne, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

LONDON - Richard Phillips - heroic captain of the Maersk Alabama which was seized by Somalian pirates last April - has been lauded as Shipmaster of the Year at the Lloyd’s List Global Awards ceremony in London this week.

“The Lloyd’s List Global Awards - the ‘Oscars’ of the maritime world - honour the best and brightest stars in the international shipping industry,” says Tom Leander, Editor in Chief of Lloyd’s List. “Shipmaster of the Year goes to a captain who has shown exemplary judgment, courage, honour and duty of care to his crew and ship.”

The Maersk Alabama hijacking - the first successful pirate seizure of a ship registered under the American flag since the early 1800s - began with four Somali pirates seizing the cargo ship some 240 nautical miles southeast of Somalia’s port city of Eyl on the morning of April 8th 2009. Captain Phillips took action immediately, radioing his crew and telling them to lock themselves in the engine room and standing to face the pirates himself.

The crew - who had received anti-piracy training in the use of small arms, basic safety and first aid - retook control of the ship and overpowered the leader of the pirates. After reneging on a deal to trade hostages, the pirates fled the tanker in one of the ship’s covered lifeboats, taking Captain Phillips with them.

While the Maersk was escorted to safety, the destroyer USS Bainbridge shadowed the pirates, keeping close tabs on the safety of the brave Captain, who tried to escape once but was thwarted by heavy gunfire. Then, on April 12th - four days after the initial attack on the Maersk Alabama - US Navy Seals staged a dramatic rescue from the USS Bainbridge, killing three pirates and taking a fourth captive.

Captain Phillips was rescued safe and well and has since been honoured by President Obama for his courage, selflessness, and clear thinking during the ordeal.

“Lloyd’s List is delighted to present this award to Captain Richard Phillips,” says Leander. “His actions, judgment and courage during the events of last April demonstrate that he possesses the time-honoured characteristics of an outstanding sea captain.”

The award was collected on behalf of Captain Phillips by Douglas Bannister, Managing Director of Maersk Line.

Other awards presented at this year’s Lloyd’s List Global Awards include Newsmaker of the Year, which went to Navios chief executive Angeliki Frangou who has distinguished herself as a voice of reason in calling for more openness and better business practices in shipping and the Lloyd’s List Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented to Alberto Aleman Zubieta. Zubieta - who is chief executive of the Panama Canal Authority - oversaw the canal’s transition from US ownership in 1998 and has been responsible for the waterway’s smoother operations ever since, to the benefit of worldwide shipping.

Source: Lloyd’s List

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