New-School Pirates Are No Longer After Your Buried Treasure

Being a pirate on the high seas isn't what it used to be. The rum-swigging, foul-mouthed, unkempt groups in search of buried treasure have evolved in the 21st century. Their new concern: Fueltrax systems.

How's Disney supposed to make a movie around that plot line?

Co-captains of a ship that was off the coast of Nigeria are claiming that ExxonMobil is responsible for a recent run-in with pirates, and are suing them in Harris County Court.

The co-captains, Rex Blanton and Kevin Norris, of the good ship Fast Service -- which wasn't fast enough -- were off the coast of Nigeria when they started receiving a series of threatening phone calls in regard to the Fueltrax system. The system was supposed to "reduce the frequency and success of fuel theft." When the captains explained the situation to superiors, and expressed their safety concerns, the response was some version of "Eh, get over it."

Days later, around 5 a.m., a ship carrying an unknown number of armed pirates approached Fast Service. One of the captains "attempted to increase speed but was unable to as direct result of the unseaworthiness of the vessel," according to the complaint.

The co-captains reported that the pirates fired on and boarded Fast Service, and then the gunmen assaulted the captains and the crew. No swords were involved. Instead, the pirates pistol-whipped and beat up the crew with fists and feet, in trying to identify the Fueltrax system. The pirates demanded that the system be dismantled, and when the captains told them it wasn't possible to do so, the pirates fired rounds into the system.

"It is clear from the assailants' actions that their intention was to disable the Fueltrax system and send a message to defendants, through their violent assault of plaintiffs, instructing them not to interfere with assailants' fuel bunkering activities in the future," Norris and Blanton say in the complaint.

In very un-pirate-like behavior, beyond some communication equipment and some personal items on the crew, nothing else was stolen. The only harm done to the ship was the damage to the Fueltrax system.

Norris and Blanton are seeking and are saying that ExxonMobil failed to provide their vessel with adequate security despite having knowledge of "multiple, similar attacks in the region."

Court documents can be found in the Courthouse News Service report.

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