I’ve read a lot about crews fighting off modern pirates with makeshift weapons, but if piracy is a known problem, why don’t these crews have access to real weapons?

Although the stories of brave crews fending off pirate attacks with makeshift weapons are inspiring, it does leave some people wondering why these crews didn’t have access to better defense and security in the first place. Modern-day pirate attacks have been a known issue for many years, but despite this, unprotected crews are still sent into high-risk waters with no way to defend themselves from an attack.

Although pirates are often violent and generally armed with modern weapons, some vessel owners and operators feel that it’s better to take chances than to plan appropriately. They argue that arming crews or providing armed security will make attacks more deadly—but, instead of planning safer routes or heeding piracy warning, they continue to send crews into potential danger.

Sadly, what it often really comes down to is choosing to save costs by risking crewmembers’ lives. Since, for a large shipping company, only a small percentage of vessels are attacked each year, employers feel that they can continue to skimp on anti-piracy measures and safety precautions—however, that “small percentage” could end up suffering extreme conditions in an undefended pirate attack.

Vulnerable crews who are attacked by gun-toting pirates may be shot, killed, or taken hostage. They are often robbed of their personal possessions—and some sailors pay for company negligence with their lives. Families may wait for days or weeks while a loved one is held captive, and the physical and emotional scars left by these attacks may make it impossible for crews to come home to a “normal” life again.

Companies, owners, and operators should prioritize crew safety, but it often suffers in the name of the bottom line. If you have been the victim of a pirate attack, don’t wait any longer to take action—reach out to our team today for answers to your questions and clear information about your rights.