Captain Phillips' Secret Weapon

Training at MITAGS played a pivotal role in the hostage situation endured by Captain Phillips.

Published Oct 22, 2013 10:37 AM by The Maritime Executive

As the 'Captain Phillips' movie was released nationally in early October, the real Phillips was interviewed numerous times in the mainstream media including ABC's World News Tonight, where he talked about the training he received at MITAGS during his career.

Rich Phillips said it all started for him as a young mariner at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) near Baltimore. Today, as the press asks him about the Somali pirate hijacking, Phillips remains very adamant about the crucial role of training for all mariners.

During his career, Phillips continued to train and enhance his skills in navigation, bridge resouce managment as well as how to deal with high seas emergencies - including a pirate attack. Phillips credits MITAGS and its solid training for getting him and the crew through the hijacking in the Gulf of Aden in 2009.

MITAGS' $30-million simulator training facility is one of the largest and most sophisticated in the world. MITAGS' training programs are developed to provide higher levels of competency and skills for mariners. The program modules on its simulators can virtually recreate any situation within a harbor and on the open seas anyplace in the world. The MITAGS simulators are are manned by experienced ship masters who can recreate situations including heavy fog or rough seas in a number of training exercises. Phillips was trained at MITAGS to deal with a pirate attack exactly like the one he endured while master onboard the Maersk Alabama in 2009. Phillips told ABC News that he could not put a dollar amount on the importance of mariners being trained over their careers. 

While enjoying the national spotlight, Phillips has continued to praise the MITAGS environment and training complex as being one of the very the best in the world. Meanwhile, he plans to continue sailing and training at MITAGS in the future.