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Seafarer held captive by pirates takes employer to court in landmark case

A seafarer in the US is suing Edison Chouest Offshore and Galliano Marine Services for injuries suffered during a 2011 piracy incident.

Wren Thomas’s suit states that despite repeated episodes of international piracy involving its vessels and crews off the West Africa coast since 2011, the defendants failed to adequately protect its employees at sea, despite employees allegedly being attacked, brutally treated and kidnapped.

Thomas was the master onboard the C-Retriever which was attacked off the Nigerian coast in October 2011. Thomas said he had complained to his employers prior to the attack about his ship’s vessel age, slowness and rather obsolete anti-piracy protection.

When captured Thomas and his crew were held captive and tortured for 18 days.

The landmark case is taking place at the US District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Were Thomas to win, shipowners the world over could be in for a welter of similar actions.

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Published on:
September 10, 2015
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