Pirated Ship's Cook Sues Over Safety Regs

Says Maersk owner refused to arm sailors or provide security
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 27, 2009 4:53 PM CDT
Richard E. Hicks, the chief cook on board the Maersk Alabama, speaks after filing a lawsuit Monday, April 27, 2009 in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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(Newser) – A member of the crew on the US-flagged ship hijacked by African pirates sued the owner and another company today, accusing them of knowingly putting sailors in danger. Richard E. Hicks alleges in the suit that owner Maersk Line Limited and Waterman Steamship Corp., which provided the crew, ignored requests to improve safety measures for vessels sailing along the Somali coast.

Hicks was chief cook on the Maersk Alabama. He asked that the two companies improve safety for ships by providing armed security or allowing crew members to carry weapons. "We've had safety meetings every month for the last three years and made suggestions of what should be done and they have been ignored," Hicks said. "I'm just trying to make sure this is a lot better for other seamen."