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High Risk Areas for Piracy

The thought that pirate attacks still occur frequently in our modern society is shocking; however, for those in maritime industries, pirate attacks are a serious, troublesome reality. While worldwide efforts have been successful in reducing the frequency of such attacks, vessel pirating attempts are still made—more in some parts of the waters than others. In order to promote safe sailing, employees and passengers should take special caution when traveling through certain bodies of water. A review of the most recent violent attacks of this decade establishes that West African waters and Somali territories are among the most dangerous regions to travel concerning the presence of pirate vessels. Other at-risk regions around the world include portions of Southeast Asia and Indian subcontinents.

West Africa and the Gulf of Aden

On the issue of modern day maritime piracy, no region is more feared and scrutinized than the seas of West Africa. Pirate attacks in these regions are often violent. Although the waters are in constant danger, attacks have decreased significantly. Ever since the notorious attack of the Maersk Alabama, captained by the surviving hostage Richard Phillips off the coast of Somalia in April 2009, attempts to hijack vessels have become less frequent. According to estimates, there were 445 pirate attacks in 2010 and only 143 in 2013—demonstrating the success of patrol and enforcement efforts. Regardless of these efforts, the risk still remains significant. The waters of West Africa and the Gulf of Aden are the most dangerous to travel for vessels carrying oil, equipment, and any valuable cargo.

The most notable regions for maritime piracy include:

  • Benin & Nigeria:
    While attacks have decreased, the possibility still remains. Pirates in these regions are well armed, lacking the hesitation to use force. Attacks can be attempted both at anchorages and off the coast, with the hijacking lasting days before the vessel can be fully looted.
  • The Gulf of Aden:
    Flowing between the southern shores of Yemen and the northeast portion of Somalia, the Gulf of Aden has historically been a location of great concern. Pirate attacks in the past have been violent. However, due to notable efforts by anti-piracy operations and military measures, the attacks have dropped significantly.
  • Somalia:
    With these waters being mixed with those of the Gulf of Aden, the same military operations that have decreased piracy in the Gulf have been successful in this region as well. However, Somalia is perhaps the most dangerous, most widely known location of maritime piracy attacks in the modern day marine industry.

Southeast Asia and India

While piracy is not a public point of concern in this region, the presence of pirate vessels on the waters surrounding these parts is not unheard of. Because several attacks have taken place in the last 10 years, authorities constantly warn and urge vessels to take extra precautions when traveling the waters south of India, especially including:

  • Bangladesh
  • Indonesia
  • Malacca Straits
  • Singapore Straits

Because of diligent patrols and control efforts, attempted pirate attacks in these regions have decreased significantly and violence has all but ceased. Due to increased patrol presence on the waters, most pirate attacks around Southeast Asia are attempted after dark and usually aborted if the victimized vessel sounds off an alarm. However, pirate groups are still unpredictable and mariners are constantly encouraged to exercise caution at all times. Unfortunately, it has taken several serious attacks for national and international authorities to recognize the real risk of pirate attacks in modern maritime operations. This realization has led to several successful anti-piracy efforts and an update in detection and assessment of piracy risk.

Injured in a pirate attack? Contact a Jones Act lawyer at our firm!

If you are an American seaman injured in a pirate attack in foreign waters or lost a family member in an attack of this kind, you may be able to file a claim to seek compensation under the Jones Act, Death on the High Seas Act , or other applicable maritime law. A Jones Act lawyer at Arnold & Itkin can review the circumstances surrounding the attack to determine what may have contributed to the incident and what party should be held liable for your medical care, lost earnings, and other damages or losses. With our understanding of national and international maritime law and our experience in this field, we are confident in our ability to properly handle your claim.

Contact a maritime attorney at our firm today to discuss your rights as an injured seaman.

Maritime Piracy

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