Reports indicate that three crew members of the Stelios K remain hostages of pirates who boarded the vessel on November 16, 2020. The pirates kidnapped the captain of the ship and two other crew members and have held them for ransom since. According to Athens’ Merchant Navy Ministry, the ship management company for the vessel is currently negotiating for the hostages’ release. The vessel is owned and operated by Royal Ship Management. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this ongoing incident.
There has been a dangerous increase in the frequency of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea in 2020. Vessels in the region have experienced numerous pirate attacks in the past month, which safe marine operators must adequately prepare for, or their crew members are at risk of serious injury or death. The number of personnel who have been kidnapped from vessels in the Gulf of Guinea in 2020 totals at least 115.
The cargo ship TANGO REY was boarded on November 30, 2020 while it was an anchor in the gulf. On November 29, 2020, four crew members were kidnapped from the AGISILAOS. Ten crew members on board the general cargo ship Milan were kidnapped on November 26, 2020. On November 17, the Stelios K was attacked and hijacked by pirates. On November 17, the tanker ship SKS DONGGANG may have been attacked and boarded by pirates. On November 16, the AM Delta was attacked, and numerous crew members were kidnapped. On November 13, pirates attacked the ZHEN HUA 7. On November 7, pirates attacked the Torm Alexandra in the Gulf of Guinea.
It can be dangerous to work in any profession when safety considerations are not made. This is especially so when working on a vessel. Safe maritime companies must consider piracy precautions to ensure that their ships do not put the lives of their crew members at risk. The risks of catastrophic injury or kidnapping due to pirate activity is especially high in certain regions of the world that have historically had a problem ensuring the safety of vessels. When ship operators fail to account for the hazards posed by known pirate activity, catastrophic injuries or deaths can result. Safe companies must help their ships and crews avoid becoming victims of piracy. Before sailing in dangerous waters, safe maritime companies must perform at a bare minimum the following:
Conducting a risk assessment related to piracy;
Create and educate crewmembers regarding ship self-protection measures; and
Implement policies and procedures on what to do if attacked by pirates.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in maritime personal injury and wrongful death litigation and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured as a result of the negligence of another party. Spagnoletti Law Firm has lawyers admitted to practice in Texas, Florida and New York, and has handled maritime lawsuits throughout the country, including those involving pirate attacks.
The experienced maritime and offshore piracy attorneys at the Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of piracy. There are strict and short time limits on making claims related to these claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your rights.