BOISE -- Captain Richard Phillips, whose cargo ship was hijacked by pirates in 2009, spoke to the Boise Chamber at their 130th Annual Gala. Captain Phillips came to fame after he was taken hostage by Somali pirates, and then wrote a book about the ordeal.
A film based on the book opened Friday.
Phillips' work routine is much different than members of the Boise Chamber of Commerce. His job takes him out to sea for three months at time, sailing massive ships through sometimes-dangerous waters. In his speech Tuesday, Phillips talked about leadership and inner-strength---whether on the high seas or in the changing waves of the economy.
"The three points I want you to know are, one, you are much stronger than even you know," said Phillips. "Second, the only time that all is lost is when we choose to give up. And third, a dedicated, motivated, professional team can overcome most any obstacles or solve most any problem."
Phillips says pirates, like those who hijacked his ship and took him hostage, are a very real threat for merchant mariners.
"In the merchant marine, we deal with piracy. It's an ongoing concern," he said. "If you don't want to deal with pirates, you really don't want to go to sea."
That was a crisis for which Phillips said his unconventional drills and creative training prepared him and his crew.
"Training gets you through what you've experienced before," he said. "Creative approaches and imaginations will get you prepared for what you have yet to experience."
Part-time Sun Valley resident Tom Hanks plays Phillips in the movie "Captain Phillips."
"He would never use the word 'hero' in regards to himself," said Hanks, who has met the Captain. "He says, 'I was waiting for the heroes to show up."
The Navy SEALS rescued Phillips.
"As I discovered firsthand, when faced with a threatening situation, somewhere within us we find the strength to do what must be done," Phillips said. "And while I was the one who had to realize it on that day, I'm just as confident that you would have and could have done exactly the same."