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Services — Stolen Vessel Recoveries

Although still rare, incidences of vessel theft, barratry, and piracy are on the rise.  The existence of outlaw states and regions where a vessel can be renamed, reflagged, and resold without any real fear of apprehension has created a lucrative market for stolen vessels.  Whenever the scrap market prices rise, the possibility of sale of a stolen vessel for immediate scrapping also rises.

Difficulties in Recovering Stolen Ships

Recovery of a vessel from a thief or pirate requires the highest level of coordination, forethought, and caution.  Unlike other adversaries, such as defaulting owners or fraudulent claimants, thieves and pirates are criminals and are therefore prone to violence.  Further, they are usually on a heightened level of alert for an attempted repossession of the stolen vessel.

The VessEx Recovery Option

VessEx’s policy in these cases is to pursue legal and law enforcement avenues first, including the filing of criminal charges and claims to possession with local authorities and the coordination of the effort with Interpol.  In cases where these efforts will be or have been ineffective, VessEx has a specially selected crew of mariners—including deck and engineering officers with military and/or law enforcement backgrounds—to effect the repossession of the vessel and, if appropriate, the delivery of any criminals onboard to the proper authorities.

VessEx will be pleased to discuss the specifics of VessEx policy regarding the recovery of misappropriated vessels on a case-by-case basis with prospective clients.  Due to the nature of the actions that may be required under these circumstances, VessEx policy is to require strict proof of ownership or other legal interest in the vessel by prospective clients and convincing evidence that the vessel has been taken from her rightful owners by theft, barratry, or piracy.

Proven Ship Recovery Experience

Click here to view an excerpt from Seized by VessEx Operations Director Capt. Max Hardberger for an account of his efforts to recover a ship in Haiti.


VessEx team boarding a ship

Book cover of Seized

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