The Coast Guard's official blog, Compass this week discussed the piracy threat and efforts to deal with it. The Coast Guard requires all US-flagged vessels to have a complete security program in place. The program is based on an assessment of the vessel's susceptibility to pirate attacks. The Coast Guard has also produced a series of security advisories to assist all US-flagged vessel operators to comply with counter piracy strategies. The Coast Guard derives its powers from the Maritime Transportation Security Act. However, the Maritime Transportation Security Act does not authorize the Coast Guard to require compliance from recreational vessels. The CG's authority over recreational vessels is very limited, especially if the vessels are not operating in US waters. The results were plain to see earlier this month during the hijacking of the private sailboat Quest in the Arabian Sea by Somali pirates and the deaths of the four people on the sailboat. The Coast Guard is specifically advocating caution by non-seamen. These people must avoid high-risk piracy areas at all times. For instance, the CG recently issued a warning, asking sailors to avoid the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the Somali Basin. There has been much attention on the international piracy menace since the deaths of the four Americans at the hands of pirates last month. Hopefully, this time, authorities in this country will be motivated to do much more than they have been to deal with this threat. If you have been injured in a maritime or offshore accident, contact a maritime attorney at my firm for a free evaluation of your case.
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