Rescued Captain Testifies In Congress

Capt. Richard Phillips who was taken hostage from his ship by pirates and later rescued by U.S. Navy Seals testified Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He spoke about the experience and what he thinks the U.S government can learn from it.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris. Captain Richard Phillips testified on Capitol Hill this afternoon. Captain Phillips commanded the cargo ship Maersk Alabama when it was attacked on the high seas by Somali pirates. Held hostage for five days, he was eventually rescued by Navy SEALs. In his remarks, Phillips said the government should safeguard U.S.-flagged ships.

Captain RICHARD PHILLIPS (Captain, Maersk Alabama): The most desirable and appropriate solution to piracy is for the United States government to provide protection through military escorts and/or militant detachments aboard U.S. vessels.

NORRIS: Phillips also said that simply arming a ship's crew would not solve the problem of piracy.

Capt. PHILLIPS: It's not a mall cop that I'm looking for. I don't want to denigrate anybody, but a little higher trained is what we need, because these are high-caliber people. And with my experience with someone like the SEALs or in that regard, Special Forces is what you're talking about, and you would not need 10, 12, 18 people.

NORRIS: Captain Phillips went on to say that he thought just three highly trained guards per ship would be plenty.

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