Captain sues Edison Chouest over pirate attack

The following is the text of a news release from Gnomes National News Service:

(HOUSTON) (Oct. 23) — Wren Thomas, an American ship captain, has filed a lawsuit against his employer as a result of a piracy and kidnapping event that occurred one year ago off the coast of West Africa.  

The lawsuit claims that while working as a boat captain in the West African region for Edison Chouest Offshore, pirates removed Thomas from his vessel at gunpoint on Oct. 23, 2013. Thomas was taken into the jungles of West Africa, tortured, malnourished and held prisoner by the pirates for 18 days. The lawsuit claims that Edison Chouest ignored a request from Thomas to transfer out of Nigerian waters after Thomas received specific threats from Nigerian pirates.

Thomas is represented by Brian Beckcom of VB Attorneys in Houston. Beckcom also represented the crew of the Maersk Alabama after Somali pirates attacked them in 2009. That ordeal was made into a Hollywood blockbuster called "Captain Phillips" and starred Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips.

The lawsuit, filed in the 125th Harris County District Court, cause number 2014-60458, states Edison Chouest was not only aware of the dangerous conditions in the Gulf of Guinea, but that Edison Chouest “failed to take adequate steps to provide appropriate levels of security and safety for their employees, including Captain Thomas.”

According to Beckcom, “We intend to show that Edison Chouest knew of a general threat of piracy in the region, knew of specific threats to Captain Thomas, had their vessels attacked shortly before Captain Thomas’s kidnapping, and failed to take appropriate steps to protect its employees in the region. And we will prove that during his 18 days of captivity and even up to the current day, Gary Chouest has never once reached out to Captain Thomas.”

By Professional Mariner Staff