With the recent release of Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, it seems an unbelievable turn of events for most of us; however, another American-flagged ship has been attacked by pirates—this time off the coast of Nigeria.
Owned by Edison Choust, the vessel was working in the Agbami Field, located in the Niger Delta. It is currently reported that two Americans—the Chief Engineer and the Captain—were taken hostage. The Nigerian Navy is currently operating a search and rescue mission; however, a spokesman has stated they are unable to comment on whether the United States will intervene. Other sources state that the United States Navy has received no orders to intervene.
Where piracy in the Niger Delta was once very common, this is the first reported attack in the region in the past two years. “These pirates are getting more bold and they are finding new ways to board these vessels. It is the responsibility of these companies sending these crews into these pirate-infested waters to ensure the safety of the mariners—not the thickness of their wallets,” said Brian Beckcom, a founding partner of the law firm VB Attorneys. “It might be cheaper or faster to take a shorter route, but these men and women have the right to be protected.”
“We have seen this happen before, and it’s not the Hollywood story portrayed in the movie,” said Beckcom, who is the attorney representing nine of the crew members of the Maersk Alabama, the topic for Captain Phillips. “We are praying for the two Americans that were taken hostage by these pirates and hope they get home safely.”