Arms Suit Hits Heidmar

Failure to place armed guards on a ship which fell into pirate hands has seen Heidmar and Marida Tankers dragged into court by two seafarers.

Two assistant engineers from the 13,300-dwt Marida Marguerite (built 2008) filed the complaint in the US suggesting pushing the ship through pirate infested waters violated Jones Act rules.

According to court documents Bahri Chirag and Dangwal Sandeep claim the vessel was not seaworthy as it did not have “adequate security, including but not limited to, weapons and non-lethal methods of resisting intruders”.

It is also suggested the vessel did not have an adequate security system and the crew were not given an adequate security plan.

Chirag and Sandeep, who along with their crew mates were held for eight-months, further suggest negotiations with the pirates were not completed in a timely manner.

The Merida Marguerite drama was one of the more high-profile and graphic stories linked to Somali piracy.

Last month Mohammad Saaili Shibin was found guilty of hijacking the vessel. He is said to be the highest ranking pirate ever convicted.

At his trial Oleg Dereglazov, a Ukrainian seafarer on board the Marida Marguerite, said the pirates had threatened to execute him at knife-point.

Dereglazov also revealed that pirates suffocated him by putting a plastic bag over his head and led him to believe the captain had been killed during the ordeal

He told the court one crew member had his genitals painfully tied together with plastic ties and that he himself was threatened with the same action if he didn’t tell them where extra fuel on board the ship was hidden. He repeatedly told them there wasn’t any.


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