Maritime piracy has been a serious issue facing the global community and international industries for hundreds of years. No longer are the pirates seeking gold or treasure, though. Piracy in this decade target ships carrying oil or goods, and also crewmembers have been taken hostage.

Global efforts to stem the tide of piracy have been met with renewed attack techniques rather than a minimizing of these terrifying incidents. If you’ve been the victim of a maritime piracy incident, a maritime lawyer can help you determine whether you have a legal claim.

What Is Maritime Piracy?

Modern pirate attacks differ from what you see in the movies. Today, these criminals use more sophisticated weaponry and typically attack from smaller motorboats. Since 2007, hundreds of ships have been attacked and crewmembers taken hostage.

In 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea defined maritime piracy as a criminal act of violence, detention or devastation for private ends by crew of a private ship or aircraft against another ship or aircraft or its contents on the high seas.

These modern attacks are well known in areas off the coast of Somalia and Nigeria, as well as between India and Sri Lanka, an area known formerly as “The Pirate Coast.” Maritime lawyers can assist victims of maritime piracy against a U.S.-flagged vessel or a vessel associated with an American company, who may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act or other legislation.

Global Effects Of Maritime Piracy

With the increasing incidents of pirate attacks on global industry vessels, costs for companies that do international business are increasing. Insurance premium and freight rates are rising, as well as the increased cost of rerouting ships and paying ransoms for captive crewmembers.

Current tactics for fighting pirate activity are mostly defensive in strategy, including onboard deterrents such as firehoses, security alert systems, deck patrols, electric screens and private marine security guards. More than a dozen nations have also increased naval deployments and joined anti-piracy patrols in highly trafficked areas for small maritime gangs.

The results of these stepped up measures have been said to be short-term fixes, rather than targeting the problem of political and economic unrest in the countries these gangs originate from.

Can You File A Maritime Piracy Claim?

U.S. citizens working for American companies who have been victims of maritime piracy incidents have some recourse for compensation depending on the circumstances of the attack. Issues of lack of security or other claims of negligence may entitle the worker to compensation under U.S. maritime laws.

Compensation may be possible for maintenance and cure payments, as well as other settlements. An experienced maritime lawyer can help determine whether a victim of piracy is eligible to file a claim under U.S. or other laws and to what extent compensation may be possible.

The maritime attorneys of Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  have had success in dealing with cases of maritime piracy. Call today to get the help you need in filing a claim.