Real Stories of Pirates

In modern times, people in first world countries who are never out on the open seas consider pirates and the act of piracy with a flippant attitude or a with a sense of carelessness.  Piracy is more of a thing of the past or an exciting story than it is a real-life occurrence.  The truth is that TV shows and movies make pirates out to be romantic, fun-loving, do-good, slightly addled, or even just marginally mischievous people who aren’t any real threat to others. Most people think nothing more of piracy past that regarding the electronic thievery of music or videos.  Real life pirates exist today…and they’re dangerous!


The image of pirates probably looks like the sword-wielding, buccaneer hat donning, rum-drinking, and womanizing sort.  Present-day pirates are much different than their 17th-century counterparts.  Contemporary pirates usually travel in smaller boats and vessels and tend to attack with powerful machine guns and grenades the tankers, cargo ships, and fishing vessels that typically to carry goods they could sell on the black market.  Pirates tend to frequent specific areas, called choke points.  The Panama Canal is a high traffic area for pirates due to the flow of cargo that passes through it between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.  Other choke points exist off the coastlines where there is much instability on the mainland, such as Liberia, Nigeria, and Somalia.


The History Channel ran a small segment about a modern day pirate attack on a cruise liner 100 miles off the coast of Somalia on November 5, 2005.  Because cruiseliners have such a large number of eyewitnesses onboard between the passengers and the crew, they are not usually the targets of modern day pirates.  This day, however, passengers awoke to gunshots from three boats filled with Somali pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-launched grenades.  Thankfully, the cruise liner was able to use an LRAD device (long-range acoustic device), which puts out a powerful and obnoxious sound.  The noise caused the pirates to cease, driving their boats away.  


Some piracy encounters have fatal results for the victims.  The Tebbutt Kidnapping in September 2011 occurred at a luxury resort on the Kenyan coastline.  Judith and David Tebbutt were beginning a vacation on the luxury resort when armed pirates captured them from the resort.  David died during the struggle and Judith was kept for about six months before her release.  Some think her freedom was due to her family paying a ransom (yes, that still happens).


Not all pirates are out to collect items for profit on the black market.  Some pirates are conservationists.  Off the coast of Antarctica in 2013, a militant anti-whaling group named the Sea Shepherd rammed a Japanese whaling ship with their vessel  Their goal was to sabotage the whaling ship and prevent any further whale harvesting.  Even though they did not take booty from the boat, the act of sabotage militant force places this group in the ranks of modern-day pirates.

5 of the Weirdest Things about Admiralty Law

Unclear Course:  5 of the Weirdest Things about Admiralty Law

Admiralty law is one of the most convoluted and specific of all the different types of law.  That’s because there’s no one clear body of law that encompasses all of the different scenarios presented by admiralty law.  Some practitioners focus on trade, commerce and contracts.  Others focus on cruise ship liability.  Still others work with oil rig employees or contractors.  Overall, the practice of admiralty law is one of the more eclectic legal specialties.  Here, however, are five of the strangest things about admiralty law.

  1. Maritime law is technically different from admiralty law. Although the terms are frequently used interchangeably, maritime law and admiralty law are historically different bodies of law.  Admiralty law was traditionally limited to torts (legal wrongs done to a person or entity) and contracts on the high seas.  So if you tripped, fell, and broke your leg on a broken stairwell on the high seas, you’d pursue a claim based on admiralty law.  Maritime law historically referred to all other legal disputes that could arise on the high seas.  The terms, although used interchangeably today, had historically different meanings.
  2. Your citizenship could be a matter of technicalities if you are born on international waters.  If you’re on a cruise and go into labor unexpectedly out in the ocean, the citizenship of your child could (depending upon the country of your origin, your nationality and the laws to which it adheres) depend on the type of flag your ship is flying.  Your child could technically end up a citizen of country foreign to you.  Your child could be a citizen of the flag that your ship is flying.  
  3. Contract is king.  You are from North Carolina.  You board a ship in Miami.  You are injured on a waterslide on the ship that was poorly maintained.  Where do you sue?  What law applies?  You aren’t thinking about these things when you buy your cruise ticket, printed in the smallest yet legally tight language you will ever see.  Your ticket (or boarding pass) will clearly state that by accepting your ticket, you agree to have any and all claims you may wish to bring against the ship litigated in Federal Court in Miami, Florida.
  4. Liability is limited.  Super limited.  What is your recourse against the cruise ship if you sign up for a relaxing massage but end up getting a masseuse with a vengeance who injures you with the roughest, most painful massage of your life?  Nothing.  The cruise line has deemed most onboard service providers as independent contractors.  Therefore, your bone-breaking massage therapist is not their employee and the cruise line cannot be held liable for the torture session.
  5. High crimes on the high seas.  There are no state or federal police officers on cruise ships.  Yes, there is private security hired by the cruise line, but no state agents with police power.  Who decides whether to detain or incarcerate a passenger suspected of criminal activity while the ship is in international waters?  The captain of the ship.

Maritime Injury Settlements 



Maritime injuries are quite common, especial for workers who may be working upon a vessel that is old or not up to proper standards in terms of work environment safety. Having this in conjunction with long hours working in other dangerous conditions out in the ocean is simply a recipe for disaster.


As such, many employers often neglect to pay the proper amount of compensation for their employees who do get injured (leading to eventual lawsuits and settlements). Due to settlements being cheaper and much faster to process, many maritime employees will opt to settle. Therefore, the following is a guide on how to get through this process.


Act Quickly


After getting injured, it is important to set the wheels in motion as quickly as possible. This involves getting the right medical assistance right away as well as reporting an accident. If your employees, however, denies paying compensation, then you can resort to filing a claim. At this step, you must find an experienced and reliable maritime lawyer; regular lawyers will be unable to help as maritime laws can only be practiced by individuals who are specifically certified in doing so.


Determine What You Are Owed


After filing a claim you most likely will opt for a settlement. However, before doing so you must determine how much compensation you require. In calculating this you obviously have to take into consideration any medical bills you are both currently paying for as well as any future medical bills you will have to pay for due to the accident. On top of this, depending on how long it will take before you can work, you may also be eligible to receive compensation that covers any lost wages. Lastly, compensation should also include any psychological or emotional trauma.


Common Mistakes


When fighting for compensation, there are certain things to avoid if you want to maximum compensation you can get. The first mistake is obviously not utilizing the services of a professional, well-experienced maritime lawyer. That’s why it is important to search around and look for reviews before deciding on a lawyer to represent you.


The second major mistake is simply accepting the initial offer of compensation from an employer. This offer most times will be much lower than what you could actually gain from a settlement; therefore, speak with your lawyer regarding the maximum compensation you could potentially acquire.


The last and most common mistake is simply waiting around for too long. After an incident has occurred, it is important to act quickly. Gaining the right medical treatment, filing your accident, and finding a professional to assist you in filing a case are essential and should not be put off.


Anything Else?


Injuries and accidents happen, and they most definitely are common when working at sea. That’s why it is best to be prepared in instances if tragedy does strike. Being quick and knowing what you have to do are all important in getting the compensation you deserve.


What is the Limitation of Liability Act? 

Though the Jones Act was enacted to provide a level of protection for workers at seas from negligent ship owners and corporations, a separate act that was brought into place during the 19th century has been prevalently used by companies to absolve any responsibility when an injury occurs. The Limitation of Liability Act has been used by employers to reduce the amount of compensation they would have to pay in the event of a tragic accident, even if the mishap was due to negligence or poor care on the employer’s part. The following outlines what is covered by this act, and the ways you can fight against it in the tragic circumstance that you find yourself injured while working at sea.

What Does It Do?

As the name suggests, this at limits the maximum liability that an individual is responsible for in the event that one of his passengers or workers is injured, regardless if that injury was caused by negligence or not. In other words, the amount of monetary compensation that one must provide is limited to a max number which is usually the same as the worth of the vessel on which the accident took place.

What’s scary is that even if the injury has resulted in a death, the act can still limit the maximum amount owed to the family of the deceased. In addition, if the vessel has sunk or has been severely damaged, the defendant owes absolutely no compensation (this is because the worth of the vessel in this situation would be zero).

When Can it be Applied?

The act can be applied in a number of situations and for practically any vessel.  According to Charles McCorquodale Law, owners of a vessel will attempt to file for this claim as soon as disaster has struck, so it is imperative for you to contact your own lawyer to give a response. According to courts will only give the affected individual a week after the defendant has filed for Limitation of Liability to respond.

However, for this to be applied, the clause has to be enforceable. In cases where there is a policy in place that inhibits the enforcement of this clause or in circumstances where there is an obvious imbalance in terms of bargaining power between the two parties.

What to Do If Youre Involved in Such a Claim

If you’re the individual who has sustained injuries, then it is important to act quickly; contacting a professional maritime lawyer is the best course of action as they can write a detailed answer to the claim and hope to override the petition. This way, you can be guaranteed that you will get the adequate compensation that you deserve.

If you’re a defendant who is attempting to utilize this clause, then it is important to be clear and concise when writing up drafts, ensuring that any revisions done to the project are worthwhile. If your petition is thrown away, then it is important to ensure that you have proper insurance coverage to cover any costs.


What to Do If You Are Injured at Sea? 



Injuries that occur at sea are a bit different from those that happen on land. When a worker gets injured working in a factory, that worker is most likely able to get compensation through workers’ compensation laws. However, when injured at sea on a boat or other type of maritime vessel, the injured worker will most likely file a case through the Jones Act.


And though there are several instances where a seamen’s injuries could be covered through workers’ compensation, the Jones Act undoubtedly provides a greater amount of compensation. In exchange, however, filing a case through the act does require a lawyer who is an expert at the subject. The following therefore gives a brief guide as to who is eligible of such compensation and what one is to do if they do get injured at sea.


Who Is Eligible?


To be eligible to file a case under the Jones Act, you have to be considered a “seaman.” Workers who are considered to be seamen, such as fishermen, shipping workers and transporters, and cruise ship operators; must be in a vessel that is navigating while at sea. Injuries that take place while docked in most cases will not be covered under the Jones Act.


How to File a Case?


Normally you can be guaranteed compensation if you are considered a seaman, whose profession involves working at sea for a majority of their professional career. You also must have suffered injuries on a vessel that wasn’t seaworthy.


A vessel can be considered not seaworthy if parts of the vessel are damaged, overly outdated, or if the crew is not properly trained to do their tasks aboard the vessel.


Of course, you must prove that it was negligence on part of your employees that caused your injury, so getting a professional maritime lawyer is essential.



Types of Compensation


After an injury has taken place, your employees is required to fully pay for any of your injuries as well as providing reasonable accommodations that include, but not limited to: living arrangements, wheelchairs, and any medication needed to recuse pain.


If you are out at sea for a specific number of days, your employees is required to pay any wages you would have earned if it weren’t for your injury. In this way, you are entitled to any future earnings that the injury has deprived of you.


Also, know that damages done to you doesn’t just include physical harm, but also includes any emotional, social, and psychological harm that the injury has done to you.


So Now What?


Once an injury has occurred, it is imperative to report it at once and seek medical help. Also, gather names of witnesses and get in contact with a lawyer who is certified to practice maritime law to begin any claims.

What is Maritime Law And Why is it Important? 


We’re very much accustomed to normal everyday laws, like laws that govern who and when one can drive, or even laws regarding public safety and freedom of speech. However, things that occur at sea are not subject to these normal, everyday laws. Therefore, a special set of separate laws, called maritime laws, are required to govern occurrences at seas (and these laws are extremely important for governments, corporations, and individuals who hope to function properly). Therefore, the following is a brief run down of what maritime laws entail and why they are so important.


What do Maritime Laws Cover?


In short, maritime laws involve any matters in reference to shipping supplies from one area to another, workers who predominately operate at sea, commerce, navigation, and even just transportation of people.  The following gives a few specific clauses for each subgroup.


Taking Care of Workers


Under this subsection of maritime law, companies or employees who operate at sea are required to provide free medical care to any worker who has been injured while working aboard one of the company’s ships. This treatment must endure until the individual is fully taken care of. However, treatments don’t just refer to medicine, but also any type of equipment that can better help the individual function on their day to day work. This includes prosthetics or wheelchairs, as well as any medication that can help alleviate pain or psychological counseling.


Taking Care of Passengers


Passengers who have been injured aboard a ship must prove that the ship owners caused that injury through sheer negligence. Ship operators and owners are also to ensure that to the best of their knowledge that the vessel is fully operable and safe to board before allowing passengers on.


Finding and Awarding Property


Any type of property that has been lost at sea can be claimed and salvaged by a finder for an award. In a contract salvage agreement, both the salvager and the individual who has a lost their property can agree in a set amount to be paid to the salvager if the item in question is located.


In other salvage agreements, the amount to be paid is simply determined on the value of the property that was saved.


Needless to say, these rules do not apply to people or other life that is saved when in danger (such as, for example, saving someone’s life when they’re on a sinking ship).


Anything Else?


Maritime laws are essential in ensuring that people and organizations behave accordingly when at sea. This not only refers to how a shipment of items and people are to be carried out, but also encompass how workers get paid, how their protection is ensured, and even how companies are to employee workers.


maritime law

Important Maritime Law for Workers 

As the name suggests, maritime law dictates rules over how organizations should operate at sea. This involves giving strict guidelines regarding what is considered illegal or legal when at sea, as well as dictating the relationships between different entities and vessels while in the ocean. However, there is a specific series of laws, called the Jones Act Maritime, that protects American seamen in case of any injuries or if they run into problems regarding being compensated for their work. The law is extremely important for any business and therefore the following gives a brief run down of what is included within this law.


Brief History of the Jones Law


The law came into being in the year 1920 and was designed to protect workers at sea. Before this period, these maritime workers were often at risk of not getting adequately paid due to the lack of any concrete law that would require these workers to be paid. The Jones Act Maritime was thus passed.


Who Can Practice the Law?


Needless to say, these series of laws are extremely complex and very different from the ‘normal’ laws that are practiced on land. As such, not every lawyer is allowed to practice these laws; instead, only lawyers who have specifically studied these laws and have proven their knowledge regarding the laws are allowed to practice them.


 What does the Jones Act Maritime Do?



In brief, the laws help ensure that U.S. workers on the seas are properly compensated for the work they do; also, workers who get injured are also fully insured and compensated.


Along with this, American workers are also protected in terms of getting priority when being considered for hire. The law, therefore, ensures that every corporation that works on the seas had a specific percentage of their workforce by made up of Americans.


The law also ensures that any individual who has spent most of their career of seas be protected by the Jones Act Maritime. This is great as the law ensures a much higher rate of compensation for professionals at sea as opposed to those who are not protected under the law.


Lastly, the law ensures that workers who get injured due to the negligence of the company they are working for are properly compensated. This, in turn, makes it more likely that companies will continually strive for the proper working condition, fixing damaged vessels, and provide workers with proper equipment and protective gear to do their jobs.


Anything Else?


The Jones Act Maritime is simply one of many maritime laws but is definitely a greatly important one for American workers. Before the passage of this law, maritime workers were seldom guaranteed proper protection and were often even neglected during the hiring process. Since the passage of the law, however, more Americans are being employed by American corporations that operate at the seas and fewer injuries have taken place.