Houston A member of the crew on the U.S.-flagged ship hijacked by African pirates sued the owner and another company Monday, 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. Pirates held the ship’s captain hostage for five days until the U.S. Navy rescued him.
Hicks’ lawsuit seeks at least $75,000 in damages and improved safety.
Officials for Norfolk, Va.-based Maersk Line and Mobile, Ala.-based Waterman said their companies don’t comment on pending litigation.
Hicks asked that the two companies improve safety for ships by providing armed security or allowing crew members to carry weapons, sending ships through safer routes, and placing such safety measures on ships as barbed wire that would prevent pirates from being able to board vessels.