Captain to Kerry: 'The ship was never taken'

Captain Richard Phillips quickly corrected Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) today when Kerry suggested Somali pirates had taken the Maersk Alabama, the ship from which Phillips and his crew were abducted and held hostage.

Phillips was testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the growing threat of piracy.

"For the average person sitting around saying, 'what do you mean an American ship got taken by a bunch of guys in a little--" Kerry began to ask, before Phillips interjected.

"If I could interrupt you, Senator, the ship was never taken. Never taken," Phillips said, drawing applause from the audience.

Kerry conceded the point and continued his questioning. "Fair enough," he said.

It's a point of pride for the sailors that the pirates never had control of the ship. The crew had set the engine room controls to override the bridge, so the pirates could never steer the Maersk Alabama itself. This forced the pirates to abandon the ship and take Phillips to a lifeboat.

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