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Best Practices: Avoiding Attacks

Maritime Attorneys for Seamen Injured in Pirate Attacks

One of the many dangers that a seaman may be subjected to is piracy. Modern day pirate attacks affect hundreds of seamen worldwide every year, leading to serious injuries and deaths. At Arnold & Itkin, we are committed to protecting the legal rights and financial interests of injured seamen and the families of maritime workers who have lost their lives as the result of pirate attacks. Maritime piracy is a key area of concern for our firm, and our maritime lawyers fight for just compensation that will help victims of such acts begin to rebuild and move on with their lives.

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Deterring & Countering Maritime Piracy

One issue that should be considered is what measures a ship can take to avoid pirates and deter attempts made by pirates to overtake the vessel. Certain ship protection measures can be taken to reduce the risk of a piracy attack.


If pirates are unable to board a ship, they cannot hijack it to steal its cargo, subject its crew to violence, or hold the vessel and crew hostage until a ransom is paid.


Considering that the average length of a hijacking of a vessel and crew is seven months, it is absolutely crucial that specific measures be taken by ships to avoid, deter, and counter piracy attacks in the first place.

The following are some of the measures suggested by the ICC Commercial Crime Services:

  • Always be aware of high risk areas for maritime piracy. This should be taken into account when planning a voyage and should also be considered while the voyage is underway.
  • Set up a proper lookout. This is particularly important when traveling through these areas. Radar may also be particularly effective in detecting pirates so they can be avoided.
  • Plan for crew safety. Crew safety should be a primary concern, including the location of a safe muster point in the event of an attack, as well as protection against gunfire during an attack.
  • Use a freeboard to create an obstacle. A large freeboard, typically greater than 8 meters, can help make it more difficult for pirates to board the ship in the event of an attack.
  • Be ready to increase speed. Speed can enable a ship to outrun the pirates or make it more challenging for them to board the ship. Increasing to maximum safe speed or at least 18 knots is highly recommended.
  • Operate a ship in sea state 3. When the vessel is at this state, it may make it less likely that pirates will attack, as the smaller vessels they use are more difficult to operate even in moderate sea states.

Advocating for Victims of Negligence & Pirate Attacks

There are some situations where ship owner or operator negligence may lead to a pirate attack. Whether insufficient safety measures were taken in planning the voyage or there was a lack of lookouts or preparation for countering a piracy attack, negligence can play a serious part in the damage involved in piracy attacks. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a pirate attack due to the negligence or reckless actions of of a ship owner or operator, you may have a valid claim under the Jones Act or maritime law.

Thoroughly investigating pirate attacks and determining what ship protection measures, if any, were taken to protect the crew, may prove essential as our attorneys build a compelling case on your behalf. We represent American seamen injured or killed in pirate attacks in foreign waters and are ready to assist you.


Please do not hesitate to contact a maritime attorney at our firm to discuss your case. We have the knowledge and qualifications to help.


Maritime Piracy

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