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Maersk Alabama crew pans captain's account

April 22, 2010 at 7:40 PM   |   Comments

UNDERHILL, Vt., April 22 (UPI) -- The Maersk Alabama's captain says he stands by his account of the ship's takeover by Somali pirates even if most of his crew has a different view.

The Boston Herald reported Thursday 16 of the 19 crew members on board the cargo ship when it was commandeered off the coast of Africa a year ago fault the book, "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS and Dangerous Days at Sea," for making Capt. Richard Phillips appear heroic rather than incompetent.

"I stand by the book," Phillips told the Herald in a phone interview from his Vermont home. "I was just doing my job, and I've always said that."

Michael Forbes, a Philadelphia lawyer who spoke for the dissident crew members, said the captain's account is "totally contradictory from talking to the crew, and I've talked to many of the crew members."

Among the bones of contention are Phillips' saying he took action after a crew member warned of an approaching boat. The crew says he ignored the warnings.

He says he sent the crew to a safe room after the attack started. The crew says there was no safe room and they hid in a makeshift shelter.

There are questions about whether he volunteered to go as a hostage to protect the crew or was simply captured.

Phillips blames the media for not giving the crew members the plaudits they deserve.

"The media made it out to be me when it was me and my crew," Phillips said.

But Forbes questions the captain's efforts to spread the glory.

"I'd like to say, how many times has he been quoted giving any praise or credit to the crew," Forbes said. "He's not once reached out to the crew. He portrays them as hired help."

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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