And this is the time when you
do a critique, after a drill. This is
the most important part of the
drill. This is where you point out
our foibles, point out our problems. … This is also where other
people bring their input. … In the
incident we had, many of the
things we did, as far as a safe room
or a secondary fallback or taking
the engine down, were discussed at
these critiques from these drills.
What is next for you?
PHILLIPS: I’m looking at going
back in September to work. I am
— and I’ve been doing this for 30
years — contemplating retirement
and other opportunities, but right
now, I’m looking at going back in
September. I still love being at sea.
… I like being on the ocean. I like
being on ships. … Every day,
something makes me laugh. I learn
something every day. And no two
days are the same, haven’t been for
30 years and never will be.
Will you be on Maersk Alabama
PHILLIPS: The last I heard that
was my ship, and so hopefully it
still is. … I love that run. The
weather is pretty good, except for
the monsoon. You’re not under a
microscope. I’ve been doing that
run for almost two years.
Phillips addressed the dinner that concluded the Navy League’s Board of
Directors meeting June 13 after being presented with the Adm. Arleigh Burke
Award for Exceptional Leadership.
you’re doing. The only way to do that is actually training by doing and not by videotape. It’s hands-on.
We practice different fire scenarios, we practice security scenarios. Four or five days before the [April 8] incident, we were doing a security drill. I wanted to check
out the status of our security preparedness and the
atmosphere of the ship, and we found that we didn’t do
very well. So a lot of things we did during that drill
aided us in the situation.
Does a predictable route make
the ship an easier target?
PHILLIPS: Well, ships themselves
are predictable and I think we are
seeing that a lot of the pirates now
are getting inside information. … I
believe [security is] an ever-evolv-
ing thing, and so is piracy. They’re evolving. They’re
What are your feelings about arms or private
security aboard commercial ships?
PHILLIPS: It’s a comprehensive, multifaceted defense
that we have to have. No. 1, for me, would be a force-protection team. By that I mean two, maybe three,
superior-trained persons — an ex-SEAL, ex-special
SEAPOWER / AUGUST 2009