Unjust sentence in Maersk Alabama case

Let’s be frank. Why do I blog? Well, simply, it’s for feedback. I know that sounds sickeningly self-centered, but this here is a volunteer effort so the consideration is the occasional electronic burst in response. 

To be honest, I’m beginning to feel like a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project member what with the constant churning of data and nary a word back from deep space. So let’s try this topic on for size and let me know what you think.

A federal judge in New York recently sentenced a so-called “pirate” to 405 months in prison in connection with his alleged actions aboard the containership Maersk Alabama, which was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. I’m not being ornery here, but I believe that sentence is as ridiculously naïve as it is wickedly heavy-handed. Do you mean to tell me that imprisoning some poor sod for 33 years is supposed to send a message? I get it, this robber baron of the sea that grew up on the packed dirt of Somalia’s coast amongst the rabble of a million others trying to simply live through each day brandished a gun and threatened some lives. But we seem to have lost our situational awareness, because this wasn’t some mastermind (the reports I read say he merely “participated”) and there’s no way in hell that the noise of this sentencing can be heard over the din of trying to exist in Somalia. So what’s the point? It’s too bad that the zeal of some ginned-up U.S. attorney created enough static so as squelch justice’s practical side.

And please leave any invective over my political bent at the cabin sole, because I’m no bleeding heart. Do you know how much 405 months of prison confinement, the trial and rest of it, costs us?

Here’s a parting question: Do you think if Maersk had simply routed its vessel farther away from the coast this would have even happened? I want to say it’s good stuff to talk about over a beer or two, but in these circumstances that’s just too flippant. The whole thing is a shipwreck.

I’d like to hear your thoughts. Drop me a line at john@fulweilerlaw.com.

Underway and making way.

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About the author

John K. Fulweiler

John K. Fulweiler is a licensed mariner and experienced admiralty attorney. He represents individuals and companies throughout the East and Gulf Coasts and has recently taken command of his own maritime law firm. He enjoys navigating the choppy waters of the maritime law, but readily admits to missing life on the water. He can be reached at john@fulweilerlaw.com . His website is www.saltwaterlaw.com.

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