Danish Maritime Officers

For a number of years now, the world’s shipping fleets and sailors have been threatened by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Many sailors have been taken hostage, either together with their ships or alone, and held captive for months while the pirates have extorted shipping companies, authorities, insurance companies and families for ransom money. Experience shows that the hostage situation often comes as a sudden surprise and is extremely difficult to get through. Many sailors sustain lasting injuries to both body and soul.

Still more sailors and their families live with the fear of being captured and taken hostage while their ships – their places of work – sail through the threatened waters.

At Danish Maritime Officers we believe that being adequately prepared for the risk of being taken hostage and knowing how to survive an uncertain time in captivity can help many sailors to better survive this traumatic experience. Proper preparation and an understanding of the piracy threat create the framework for sailors to make the right decisions – should I sail with my ship through the area or not?

As with any other serious threat, it is important to be aware of the risks and facts and to approach the situation with openness. We at Danish Maritime Officers were therefore in no doubt when we decided to be part of the project “Coping with Capture – Handbook on Somali Pirates”.

Our support of and participation in the project does not, however, reflect an acceptance of the situation. We remain hopeful that the international community can put an end to the havoc wreaked by pirates; but until that happens, it is ‘Best Management Practice’ to be as well prepared as possible.

With this handbook for all sailors, their shipping companies and their families, we are proud to have provided the international maritime community with the first completely open, practical and fact-based advice and guidance on how one best survives being taken hostage – should all security measures fail and the unthinkable happen.

Fritz Ganzhorn
General Secretary
Danish Maritime Officers



Danish Maritime Officers

Danish Maritime Officers is a Danish trade union for mates, masters, dual ship officers, engineers, harbor masters, pilots and a number of other professions in the maritime industry. The organizations name i Danish is Søfartens Ledere. Visit us at www.soefartensledere.dk