Reports indicate the 15 sailors who were kidnapped from the container ship MOZART on January 23, 2021 have been released by pirates in Nigeria. A representative from the shipping company has indicated the sailors will be allowed to return to their native Turkey.
The vessel was attacked and boarded by pirates on January 23, 2021. At the time, the vessel was in the Gulf of Guinea, en route from Lagos, Nigeria to Cape Town, South Africa. One Azerbaijani sailor tragically lost his life in the attack, with another 15 Turkish sailors having been kidnapped by the pirates. Three sailors remained on the vessel which heading to port. All three are believed to have been injured in the attack. Reports indicate a well-orchestrated, violent attack by the pirates on the container ship. The sailors had sought refuge in the citadel, which is believed to have been breached by explosives.
The MOZART is a container ship built in 2007. It is operated by Hapag-Lloyd AG, and the registered owner is Bomar Mozart LLC. The shipmanager is Borealis Maritime Ltd. The vessel was managed by Boden Denizcilik AS.
There has been a dangerous increase in the number of pirate attacks across the world over the past few months. Safe vessel operators must adequately prepare for the danger posed by piracy, or their crew members are at risk of serious injury or death. In 2020, a total of 130 maritime workers were kidnapped from vessels in the Gulf of Guinea in 22 separate attacks.
The tuna fishing ship LIANPENGYU was attacked and hijacked by pirates on February 8, 2021. The tanker ship MARIA E was attacked and boarded by pirates on February 9, 2021. The chemical tanker ship SEA PHANTOM was boarded by pirates on February 6, 2021. The general cargo ship Vantage Wave was boarded by pirates on January 28, 2021, while northwest of Indonesia. The bulk carrier Elvia was boarded by pirates on January 28, 2021. The bulk carrier Ark Royal was boarded by pirates on January 25, 2021, while the vessel was approximately seven nautical miles northwest of Bintan, Indonesia. The cargo ship ROWAYTON EAGLE was attacked by pirates on January 30, 2021. The container ship MOZART was attacked and boarded by pirates on January 23, 2021. The container ship MAERSK CARDIFF was attacked and boarded by pirates on January 13, 2021. The container ship NILEDUTCH BREDA was attacked and boarded by pirates on January 4, 2021. The container ship MAERSK CADIZ was attacked by pirates on December 19, 2020. The LNG Tanker Ship LNG LAGOS II was attacked by pirates on December 18, 2020. On December 16, the cargo ship STEVIA was attacked and boarded, with 8 crew members having been kidnapped. At least 5 crew members were kidnapped from the Cap Saint Georges on December 10, 2020. There have been three recent attacks in just ten days on the tanker NEW RANGER: on December 5, the following day, and again on December 15, 2020. On December 2, 2020, pirates attacked the tanker ship LEVANTO. On November 30, 2020, pirates boarded the TANGO REY. 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.
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 attorneys at 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 vessel accidents, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your rights.