Captain Richard Phillips Defended Against Frivolous Lawsuit

Published Oct 16, 2013 5:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

On April 8, 2009, the Maersk Alabama was hijacked by Somali pirates. Richard Phillips, the ship's master, wrote a book in 2010 named “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea.”

One of the ship's stewards, Richard Hicks, was one of the first to file a lawsuit against Waterman Steamship Corporation and Maersk Line Ltd for knowingly sending him into pirate-infested waters. Since then, eleven members of the crew have joined in filing the multi-million dollar lawsuit against the ship’s owner claiming Phillips’ actions had put them in harms’ way.

The blockbuster movie “Captain Phillips” starring Tom Hanks was released on October 11th. It has created a buzz about the U.S. Merchant Marine, U.S. food aid and, of course, about the crew's lawsuit. While a few articles mention the lawsuit in passing, the worst was written by Maureen Callahan for the New York Post, Crew Members: ‘Captain Phillips’ is one big lie. Callahan claims Phillips is a fraud and calls him out about the facts, but she only uses anonymous quotes from people supposedly not able to speak because they are involved with the lawsuit. Callahan is the worst kind of sensational journalist.   

In the above interview, noted Admiralty Attorney and Author, Dr. Capt. John A.C. Cartner provides a critical analysis of the basis for claim against Maersk, questioning the motives of the attorney representing the suing crew members, who has stated the attack was the fault of Maersk Alabama Captain Richard Phillips. (Phillips is not named in the lawsuit)