Brian Beckcom Questions Security for Mariners After Nigeria Pirate Attack

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Houston attorney Brian Beckcom calls for better security and more industry responsibility after pirates kidnapped two mariners off of the West African Coast

“How many piracy, hijacking, and kidnapping incidents must take place in this region before definitive action is taken by these industries?”

Just weeks after the motion picture release of Captain Phillips, CNN reports that two United States mariners were kidnapped by pirates off of the coast of Nigeria. The West African Coast has been the backdrop for 40 pirate attacks so far in 2013, drawing attention to the issues of international maritime security and hijacking prevention. (1)

According to the New York Times, the captain and chief engineer of the C-Retriever oil platform supply vessel were kidnapped by pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea on Wednesday. Although pirate activity in Somalia and along Africa’s East Coast, has dropped significantly in recent years due to international policing and tough prosecution of criminals, piracy along the West Coast has only increased, in part due to the region’s off-shore oil industry. (2)

Reuters has reported on the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) data, which states that all 34 reported pirate kidnappings of crewmembers so far in 2013 have occurred in the Gulf of Guinea. Although armed guards are allowed on vessels off the coast of Somalia, West African ships have little protection against pirates and often carry valuable cargo, including oil products, metals, and cocoa. (3)

Brian Beckcom, who has a history of representing injured maritime workers, has called for immediate action from the shipping and oil industries, as well as from international marine organizations.

“How many piracy, hijacking, and kidnapping incidents must take place in this region before definitive action is taken by these industries?” asked Beckcom. “We do not believe that this problem is easily solved by ransom and kidnapping insurance policies—which protect businesses from monetary losses but don’t protect mariners from danger. We want specific steps taken to improve the security of the men and women on these vessels.”

Beckcom is currently representing nine crew members from the Maersk Alabama, the cargo ship featured in the movie Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks. The crew members are suing the ship’s owner and operator for allegedly knowingly and intentionally sending the vessel into dangerous waters off of the coast of Somalia patrolled by pirates. (4)

“We want to verify that ship owners, ship operators, and oil companies are taking reasonable measures to protect their crew,” said Beckcom. “If they are negligent in keeping their crew from harm, they should be held responsible.”

To learn more about the recent Gulf of Guinea pirate attacks, the Maersk Alabama lawsuit, or other maritime law issues, please visit VB Attorneys or call 877-724-7800.

(1)    October 25, 2013
(2)    October 24, 2013
(3)    October 17, 2013
(4)    PR Web, October 10, 2013.,
Case numbers: Alabama 02-CV-2012-900747-90, Circuit Court of Mobile County; Texas 2009-64336, 164th Harris County District Court

About VB Attorneys:

Located in Houston, Texas but serving clients nationwide, the attorneys at VB Attorneys handle a wide variety of cases, including car accidents, work accidents, wrongful death claims, marine injury cases, railroad injuries, and dangerous product injuries. Brian Beckcom and his partner Vuk Vujasinovic have been recognized repeatedly as two of the nation’s most well-respected personal injury lawyers.

To read more about our law office, read about some of our recent successes, or to request a free, private consultation, please call us at 888-473-1258 or visit our website at

Contact: Brian Beckcom
Phone: 877.724.7800
Email: brian(at)vbattorneys(dot)com

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