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November 19th, 2009

Maersk Alabama Under Fire Again: Should Maritime Lawyers be Surprised?

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers are representing one of the crewmembers of the Maersk Alabama, which was taken over by pirates back in April.  The same ship came under fire from four men on Wednesday morning off the Somalia coast , but fortunately, this time the pirates were unable to board the ship as security teams on the ship fired back at the pirates and thwarted the attack.

According to the ship captain, all crew members are safe and the ship is now proceeding to its next port of call, Mombasa, Kenya under American surveillance. The Alabama made use of a private security firm to protect the ship and its crewmembers from an attack. However, not all shipping companies have taken to hiring private security teams

The Maersk Alabama attack in April had pirates boarding the ship and taking control of it. The four pirates were killed by navy sharpshooters, and the captain and crewmembers returned home safely. Maersk Lines had several opportunities to increase security on its vessels, but failed to do so even in the face of growing risks from pirates off the Somali Coast. Crewmembers of the Alabama, including our client, had spoken to the company of their fear of an attack, and recommended measures that could minimize the risk. However, the company failed to take any measures, and the 20 crewmembers were left physically and mentally traumatized by the attack.

The piracy problem has been off the headlines in recent months, unlike the hysteria of earlier this year when maritime security was topmost on every ones minds. As maritime lawyers, we know that seamen, especially those on vessels in pirate-infested waters continue to be at risk of an attack. Strong security measures like security teams and rerouting, are additional expenses that shipping companies are simply not willing to take, even at the expense of worker safety.

Please contact us at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P.

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