Captain Richard Phillips - Mass Maritime Alumni Held By Pirates

Richard Phillips, the ship’s captain and the pirate’s apparent hostage, is a veteran sailor who also graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1979.

“He’s a pretty easy-going guy, a good story teller,” says Lea Coggio, his sister –in-law. “He’s serious about his job, he loves his job. He’s been all over the world.” Mr. Phillips’s wife was “a little bit overwhelmed” and couldn’t talk, Ms. Coggio said.

Serena Murphy said her husband, Shane Murphy, the ship’s second-in-command, called her at about 10 a.m. Eastern time, apparently a few hours before the crew had regained control of the ship.

“He called me to tell me that he was alive,” Ms. Murphy said by telephone from Seekonk, Mass. She said it was a very short call from a cell phone her husband carries to contact her. Ms. Murphy said she heard loud voices and noise on the line.

“I said ‘are you safe?’” Ms. Murphy recalled. “And he said, ‘Not yet, but I will be.’”

Ms. Murphy said her husband told her the crew “had taken down” one of the pirates. “I love my husband very much, and I hope they return home safely. I’m watching the news and taking care of my children.”

Capt. Murphy is a 2001 graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. His father, Joseph, teaches at the school, including a course about maritime security.