So far this year, there have been a recorded 202 pirate attacks against ships worldwide. Last year, there were 439 pirate attacks world-wide, so this year's number is expected to continually grow. In the last several months, pirate attacks have routinely made headlines. The region of the Horn of Africa is repeatedly in the news for pirate attacks.
There are few things scarier than being viciously attacked by pirates while on the open sea. While the U.S. Navy has repeatedly gone out on a limb to rescue victims of pirate attacks, the unwelcome reality is that not everybody is this lucky. Just recently, two Somali pirates were sentenced to life for the killing of four U.S. citizens. Somali pirates have been responsible for hijacking hundreds of ships over the past few years. They hijack a boat in order to receive ransoms from the boat owners- and they have received millions of dollars for these tactics.
This begs the question, in the event of a pirate attack, what measures can you take that increase your chance of surviving? First of all, before even heading into pirate waters it is a good idea to take some precautionary measures:
If a pirate attack is eminent:
Vigilance is one of the best methods in protecting your ship against a pirate attack- pirates tend to sneak up and attack at dawn and dusk to avoid detection. If you can steer clear of "pirate hot spots," that is recommended too.
In the event of a pirate attack, it is also a good idea to notify the Navy, transmit Mayday signals or satellite messages as soon as possible. If the military is able to intervene, The Maritime Security Center recommends that crew members, "…keep low to the deck and cover head with both hands, with hands visible and empty." Some ship owners carry actual weapons as deterrents, but that is a difficult decision that is also a personal one. Keep in mind that non-lethal weapons can also intimidate and encourage the pirates to "pick on" a safer target.
If another person's negligence led to the attack, you could be eligible to receive compensation. Few things are as horrifying and damaging as being the victim of a pirate attack that can leave you with flashbacks, continual fears, and affect your line of work. Contact our office to see if you have a claim under the Jones' Act and to learn what maritime laws could apply to your situation. We are prepared to give you the zealous representation you need and to assist you in moving forward with your life.
Arnold & Itkin represented nearly a third of the crewmembers injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Because maritime law is so complex and so complicated, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of how it works and who has proven themselves in similar cases before.