Maersk Captain Calls for Military to Protect Shipping

Freed pirate hostage calls for tougher ships, better armed crews
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2009 2:27 AM CDT
Richard Phillips stands with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry at the start of a hearing on piracy yesterday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Military guards or military detachments on board ships are the best way to keep American shipping safe from piracy, Capt. Richard Phillips told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. Phillips, freed by the US Navy after being held hostage by pirates last month, said better-armed crews and tougher vessels would also help deter pirate attacks, the Hill reports.

Phillips told lawmakers he believed two or more highly trained soldiers could have repelled the pirate attack on the Maersk Alabama last month. "Understand, it’s not a mall cop that I’m looking for," he said. The chairman of the shipping company told the committee that the laws of many other countries prohibit armed crews. Both men stressed that a long-term solution to piracy would require international cooperation.