Richard Phillips

About Artist: Phillips was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, and graduated from Winchester High School in 1973. Phillips enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and planned to study international law but transferred to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, from which he graduated in 1979. During his schooling, Phillips worked as a taxi driver in Boston. On April 7, 2009, the U.S. Maritime Administration, following NATO advisories, released a Somalia Gulf of Aden "advisory to mariners" recommending ships to stay at least 600 nautical miles (1,100 km; 690 mi) off Somalia's coast of east Africa. With these advisories well in effect, on April 8, 2009, four Somali pirates boarded the Maersk Alabama when it was located 240 nmi (440 km) southeast of the Somalian port city of Eyl. With a crew of 20, the ship departed from Salalah, Oman en route to Mombasa, Kenya. The ship was carrying 17,000 metric tons of cargo, of which 5,000 metric tons were relief supplies bound for Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda. "In that area of the world, any blip on your radar is of concern," said Phillips, "I always told my crew it was a matter of when, not if."

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