Why did Phillip's dad go to Curacao in The Cay?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Phillip Enright Sr. was a high-ranking official with an American oil company when he was "borrowed" by Royal Dutch Shell and sent to Curacao. The family had previously lived in Virginia where Phillip Sr. "had been in charge of building a new refinery on the banks of the Elizabeth River." Although America had not yet entered the war, Enright agreed to being loaned out to Royal Dutch Shell because he felt his expertise was "needed." He was "an expert in refineries and production," and he would be associated with the Shell oil refineries in the Dutch West Indies. On Curacao, he was in charge of "a program to increase the production of aviation gas." Enright's decision to move his family to Curacao put them in harm's way of the new German U-boat threats that patrolled the waters, and his wife was never happy there because of the constant smell of oil and that there were so "many black people around."