Rescued captain headed back to U.S.

Phillips, right, stands with U.S. Navy Cmdr. Frank Castellano after Phillips' rescue Sunday.
The cargo-ship captain who was recenly freed from his pirate captors boarded a company plane Friday at the airport in Mombasa, Kenya, for a flight back to the United States.

Capt. Richard Phillips offered himself as a hostage last week, when four pirates boarded his U.S-flagged ship, the Maersk Alabama. The pirates held him aboard a lifeboat for several days in a standoff against the U.S. Navy. Navy sharpshooters shot and killed the three other pirates, freeing Phillips. The other pirate was taken into custody. The 53-year-old Vermont native was praised Thursday by engineer John Cronan, one of the 19 other crew members. “He went above and beyond the call to ensure our safety,” Cronan told CNN’s “Larry King Live.” “I can’t thank that man enough. He is the reason I’m here tonight.” Asked whether she wants to see Cronan continue working as a merchant mariner, Cronan’s fiancee said it was up to him.

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“John and I have an agreement,” said Heather Giardinelli, who works as a pharmaceutical marketing researcher. “He doesn’t tell me how to do my job, and I won’t tell him how to do his.” Asked whether he plans to return to sea, Cronan said, “Yes, sir. However, the Staten Island Ferry has become much more appealing.”