AmericasDry CargoOperationsPiracy

Details emerge of how a disgruntled armed guard took control of an Eagle Bulk supramax for three days

On Friday NASDAQ-listed Eagle Bulk released brief details of a remarkable hostage situation onboard one of its supramaxes, which saw a disgruntled hired armed security guard take control of the ship for three days.

On July 21, the Jaeger bulk carrier embarked three security guards in the Indian Ocean before sailing towards the Red Sea, as the company has done for all transits through the High Risk Area (HRA) for more than a decade, in accordance with industry best practices. 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 over late salary payments he was owed from his private security firm. While the guard discharged his weapon onboard 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. V.Ships is the crew manager of the vessel.

Eagle Bulk, in coordination with maritime security experts, 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 on Thursday night.

“Eagle Bulk expresses its appreciation for the professionalism shown by the vessel’s Captain and crew throughout this ordeal,” the shipowner stated in a release.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. V-Ships only hire the cheapest guards, with no military training or experience. Satellite phones? do not work, night vision? spoiled, the binoculars? the optics are made of plastic, etc.

    But V-Ships keeps billing and billing and billing …

    1. First of all armed guards on board of Eagle bulk vessels hired by Eaglebulk, but not Vships; second- on each Eaglebulk vessel there are. 2 night vision binoculars, Iridium or Inmarsat mobile phone, bullet proof jackets -2 pcs, kevlar helmets- 2 pcs, fully equipped citadel with gps, vhf, rack with monitors from video cameras installed around vessel. Please do not post bullshit.
      Moreover- never arm guards surrender weapons to ships crew. Containers with weapons are locked by team leader in protected place. Usually arm guards are quite well trained and before Covid-19 logistic system used to work normally. Now, due to closure of borders for crew change , armed guards can’t be transferred to major airports and many vessels proceed without guards and security companies appeared in difficult financial situation when many vessels eforced to sail without guards which can’t be placed on board.

  2. This is one of the problems in the maritime security industry. Shipping companies dont conduct regulalr enough due diligence on their suppliers. The PMSC in question is known to be cutting corners and not paying suppliers, this was known throughout the industry. If you see a price which is too good to be true then 90% of the time it is.

  3. Surrender weapons to the Captain haha don’t think so. Weapons are pad locked, only the security team have access.

  4. Lots of miss information in the article. It’s clear that some professionals have responded. I was involved in a lot of this years ago. I can tell you, that there were professionals, but there were a lot more fly by the night outfits from all over the world. It became the Wild West at times. Some things don’t change.

  5. I have been a PMSC for 10 years and I have also worked vessels run by V ships, I can only say I always had the correct equipment and paperwork, I being British had to be vetted every 6 months, retrained every 1 to 3 years on all disciplines, firearms every year, all at my expense and once the wages became low it just wasn’t worth it, also being on floating armouries was not a way to treat someone who in essence risks their life for the safety of others, being a professional costs money it’s a big sacrifice !!!! All shipping companies should realise there should be a minimum standard and a minimum quality to the PMSC if the company is cheap usually the service will be well below standard. I wish all seaman safe passages, but I see many disturbing videos posted by in professional PMSC who like the title and the pictures but if the shit hit the fan most would fail and in some cases be an added danger…..

Back to top button