An armed security guard, who boarded a bulk carrier owned and operated by Eagle Bulk earlier this month, took control of the ship and deviated it from its course citing a payment dispute with his employer.
The armed guard embarked M/V Jaeger together with two of his colleagues on July 21, 2020, in the Indian Ocean before sailing towards the Red Sea, as the company has done for all transits through the High Risk Area (HRA) over the past 10+ years.
Eagle Bulk said that once on board, one of the guards did not surrender his weapon to the vessel’s Captain as is normal protocol, and then took control of and deviated the ship from its course as he voiced his grievances and demanded compensation.
“While the guard discharged his weapon on board the vessel, at no time did he directly threaten or harm any of the crewmembers. The remaining two guards did not participate in this action.
“Unbeknownst to the company, there was an employment dispute between the guard and his employer, and he had not been paid for several months,” Eagle Bulk said.
Neither Eagle Bulk nor V Ships, the vessel’s crew manager, were a party to the employment dispute.
The company said that in coordination with maritime security experts, it worked to deescalate the situation and after a period of approximately three days, the guard surrendered his weapon and allowed the ship to continue on its original course.
“Relevant authorities were kept appraised throughout the incident, and the guard was disembarked last night,” the company said on Friday.
Eagle Bulk maintained regular contact with the captain throughout this event, and V Ships kept the crew’s families updated on the situation.
“Eagle Bulk and V Ships’ primary concern was the safety of the crew. The company is very grateful for the efforts of its crew, the V Ships team, and our partners who worked around the clock over the past 10 days to ensure a safe and successful resolution,” the company added.
The US-based shipowner said that due to the sensitive nature of the incident that it would not be releasing any further information at this time.