Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS and dangers at sea

Captain-Richard-Phillips2A Vermont man and ship captain who was taken hostage by Somali pirates off the horn of Africa in 2009 will be the guest of honor at the Poultney Rotary Club’s annual dinner next month at Green Mountain College.

Richard Phillips, captain of the MV Maersk Alabama, will speak during the dinner, which will be held at 6 p.m. on March 23 in the East Room of Withey Hall on the GMC campus.

Tickets for the dinner, which raises money for Poultney area schools, are available for $50 per person. Approximately 100 tickets will be available.

Harry Stanyon said members of the local Rotary Club spoke with Phillips’ wife Andrea and discovered he would be willing to speak at the dinner.

“He’s been at sea since October but should be back on March 1,” Stanyon said. “He’s excited about it, and it will be nice to have someone other than a politician speak.”

Phillips, who lives in Underhill, Vt., a small, rural community in Chittenden County located approximately 20 miles east of Burlington, was the captain aboard the Maersk Alabama on April 8, 2009, when the ship was attacked by four Somali pirates.

Despite the fact that the crew fired flares at their attackers and took evasive action that swamped the pirate’s skiff, the ship was successfully boarded.

As they boarded the ship, the pirates took Phillips and several crews members captive but were unable to gain control of the ship, whose operating systems had been shut down by crew members during the attack.

Phillips convinced the pirates to release his fellow crew members, agreeing to serve as their hostage and the attackers fled the ship in a covered lifeboat, triggering a five-day standoff with United States naval forces. During the standoff, F.B.I. officers attempted to negotiate Phillips’ release, but those efforts went nowhere. At one point, Phillips even attempted to escape but was recaptured.

After several days, the pirate’s lifeboat ran out of fuel and they agreed to accept a tow to shore by the USS Bainbridge. But at dusk, navy personnel saw a single tracer bullet fired from the ship. Fearing that Phillips’ life was in danger, U.S. Navy SEAL snipers prepared for action and when the right opportunity presented itself, they opened fire, needing only three shots to kill the pirates. Within minutes Phillips was free.

Soon after the rescue, President Obama released a statement saying, “I share the country’s admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew. His courage is a model for all Americans.”

Phillips has since published a book titled “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea.” Last March, it was announced that Tom Hanks would play the role of Phillips in an upcoming feature film.

Proceeds from the dinner benefit Poultney-area schools.

“We give money to the schools. We alternate between the (Poultney) elementary and high schools,” said Stanyon, adding that proceeds have been used to purchase smart boards in the past. “We’ve given the school an enormous amount of money over the years.”

Anybody interested in purchasing tickets can call 802-236-6158 or contact any Poultney Rotarian.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: ,

North Country Freepress – 04/21/17

FreePress_4_21_17.pdf-web.pdf

Lakes Region Freepress – 04/21/17

Lakes_4_21_17.pdf-web.pdf

Northshire Freepress – 04/21/17

Northshire_4_21_17.pdf-web.pdf

Lakes Classifieds – 04/21/17

Lakes_4_21_17.pdf-web.pdf

518 Wheels – 04/20/17

518 Wheels_4_17_17.pdf-web.pdf

St. Mary’s dedication of altar April 27

st. mary's

By Krystle S. Morey Following the recent completion of a years-long renovation, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church is finally ready […]

Area towns, villages plan clean-up events

veterans memorial park

By Krystle S. Morey, Keith Harrington, Matthew Saari Clean up. Clean up. Everybody do your share. Area communities will take […]

Whitehall hosts ‘cutthroat’ Iron Chef competition

Iron Chef winners

By Matthew Saari Iron Chef competitions have more than 20 years of rich history, noble tradition, rigorous rivalries and superbly […]

7 vying seats on Whitehall school board

Elementary School Memorial Day

By Matthew Saari In a continuing trend of civic involvement throughout Whitehall, seven individuals have thrown their figurative hats in […]

Five seek seats on Granville school board

A desk has been set up at the front of the Elementary School for security and tax processing. All visitors must check in at the front desk or office when entering either the high school or elementary school.
This new procedure is designed to improve security at the facilities.

By Krystle S. Morey Put down your pencils. The petitions for seats on the Granville Board of Education are in. […]

Lakes Classifieds – 04/14/17

Lakes_4_14_17.pdf-web.pdf

Weekender – 04/14/17

Weekender_4_14_17.pdf-web.pdf