In harm's way...

During Nick's 3rd Class (Sophomore) year at Kings Point in the winter of 2002/2003, he spent 100 days aboard a container ship making three round trips between NY, Charleston and various ports in the Mediterranean. These photos were taken when we met up with his ship in Charleston just before Christmas.

A graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy ('05), our oldest son Nick is a licensed merchant mariner and a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves. The Somali pirate attacks on the Maersk-Alabama hit home for us, and as the events unfolded, we communicated with Nick often - bringing him up to date on the latest news. The captain and civilian crew and their families were in our constant thoughts and prayers, and it was with tears of great joy that we rejoiced in Captain Phillips' dramatic rescue yesterday afternoon.

During the four years midshipmen are students at Kings Point (the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy), they must spend over 300 days at sea on U.S. flag ships completing Sea Year Projects in engineering and navigation before they can sit for their Coast Guard licenses at the end of their senior year and graduate from the Academy. Though it was thankfully not the case, it would not have been surprising to learn that Kings Point cadets - as they are called when they are at sea - were aboard the Maersk-Alabama.

During Nick's sophomore year at Kings Point in the winter of 2002-2003, he spent approximately 100 days at sea on a container ship much like the Maersk-Alabama making voyages between New York, Charleston, and various ports in the Mediterranean Sea. The photos above were taken when we caught up with his ship in Charleston just before Christmas that year. Though port security was tight, we were cleared to tour the ship and briefly observe the logistically challenging tasks of unloading and loading containers. Port security has increased significantly since then, and we would not have that opportunity today.

Captain Phillips and his crew knew the dangers they faced in the hostile waters of the Indian Ocean, and most certainly also knew that many successful pirate attacks have not had positive outcomes. After giving himself up to the pirates in exchange for the safe release of his crew, Captain Phillips must have considered that his own rescue would be nothing short of miraculous. His personal sacrifice makes me think of this verse from John chapter 1...

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

...and I praise God for Captain Phillips, the United States Navy, and this amazing story on Easter Sunday.