Can modern pirate attacks be avoided if vessels travel farther from the shore?

Although it’s true that a lot of pirate activity takes place near the shore, staying farther out to sea isn’t necessarily enough to deter pirate attacks on commercial vessels. Anyone traveling in waters known for pirate activity should heed available warnings, which include specific alerts and information about range. Although it used to be less of a concern, attacks now can’t be avoided by traveling farther from shore because:

  • Geography makes it difficult to avoid high-activity areas. In some areas, it’s possible to plan an alternate route to help protect crews, but it may be impossible to avoid pirate hotspots in narrow passages, such as the Strait of Malacca. 
  • Pirates have hijacked larger and sturdier ships that can travel farther from the shore. While pirate organizations may have initially only had access to smaller boats, the hijacking of larger vessels have made attacks possible even in international waters, far from shore. 
  • Enforcement has driven pirates farther out to sea and into less enforceable areas. Although increased enforcement near the shore and in high-activity ports has had some effect, pirates have simply moved into less enforceable waters.  

Vessels Traveling in High-Risk Areas Should Heed Warnings and Take Precautions

If you are part of a crew that regularly travels through high-risk pirate areas, your employer should take clear steps to make your safety a priority – whether that means planning alternate routes when possible or providing adequate onboard security. If your employer sent you into dangerous waters without protection, you can take steps to hold the owner, company, or captain responsible. For more information about your rights after a pirate attack, reach out to our experienced team at 877-724-7800. 

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