Should Maersk Pay Back the Money Spent to Rescue Captain Phillips?

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The Maritime Security Program, or MSP, employs a fleet of 60 commercially owned shipping vessels, including the Maersk Alabama, to ensure commercial shippers meet national defense and other security requirements. This way, in case of national emergency, the ships can be utilized by the military. This program costs $138,000,000 annually and is funded by a portion of every American’s taxes.

In 2009, the Alabama was overthrown by Somalian pirates. The vessel, although a member of the Maritime Security Program, did not have any security personnel onboard to repel the attack. As a result, the US Navy was sent to help rescue the ship and crew at a considerable cost to the American taxpayer, even though a portion of American taxes already go to the MSP for security.

Considering this information, shouldn’t the owner of the vessel, Maersk Line Limited, have funded the rescue of its own ship? It didn’t fund nor provide its own security (which the MSP funding should have guaranteed) and as a result, needed additional support from the Navy (also partially funded by American taxes). As it was Maersk’s obligation to secure its own ship, shouldn’t it be responsible to pay back a portion of the rescue costs?

Well, Maersk certainly don’t think so.

Therefore, a lawsuit will be brought to the Alabama State court against Maersk for the lack of security and ultimate endangerment of the Alabama’s crew. The trial will show how some of the crew members that were aboard the ship during the attack can verify that there weren’t proper security personnel aboard to fend off the attackers. In addition to the lack of security, they also claim that Maersk and their captain, Captain Richard Phillips, disregarded several warnings to stay away from the potentially dangerous waters that the pirates were known to be occupying, thus creating an even more dangerous situation.

On December 2, 2013, Maersk will be given the opportunity to explain in court why it shouldn’t pay back the rescue costs as well as why its security in 2009 was non-existent.

For updates on how this case is unfolding, follow The Truth About Captain Phillips. If you would like to discuss the case in further detail, contact Brian Beckcom at 877.724.7800.

Brian Beckcom
Highest Possible 10/10 AVVO ranking. Husband. Father. Fisherman.
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