Workers in the maritime industry know that their jobs often come with a higher risk of danger than other jobs. When you think of sustaining an injury while at sea, you probably imagine the injury being caused by equipment, fires, bad weather or a collision with another vessel.
One cause of maritime injuries that could be overlooked is an injury due to piracy. Maritime piracy has been one of the most serious issues facing the maritime industry for hundreds of years.
Maritime piracy is considered a violent act and is illegal under United States and international law.
Forms of piracy
Today’s pirates have updated weapons and are often targeting the valuable goods, such as oil, on your ship. Their acts of piracy take several forms.
Pirates can perform the maritime equivalent of a “hit and run” by boarding the vessel and stealing cash or goods. They can kidnap you and your fellow crewpersons and hold you ransom for money, hijack the vessel to extort release money or steal the entire vessel altogether.
Defending against piracy
If your vessel is taken over by pirates, you must defend yourself through whatever methods you have available. These can include deck patrols, firehoses or security alert systems.
An experience with pirates can be terrifying. You are not only at risk of physical harm, but potentially being taken hostage by pirates, which can result in extreme mental and emotional suffering when you are released, including post-traumatic stress disorder or panic attacks.
You might have a maritime claim for compensation depending on the circumstances if you are the victim of a maritime piracy act. Your employer’s lack of security could be considered negligence under maritime law.
Compensation could come in the form of maintenance and cure, which will cover medical expenses and lost wages. You might also be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering.