Journal of IMAB - Annual Proceeding (Scientific Papers)
Publisher: Peytchinski, Gospodin Iliev
ISSN: 1312 773X (Online)
Issue: 2015, vol. 21, issue 4
Subject Area: Medicine
Pages: 991-994
DOI: 10.5272/jimab.2015214.991
Published online: 14 December 2015

J of IMAB 2015 Oct-Dec;21(4):991-994
Ivan Aleksandrov1, Mariana Arnaudova 1Corresponding Autor, Valery Stoyanov2, Veronika Ivanova1, Petar Y. Petrov3
1) Medical University, Varna, University hospital “St. Marina”, Varna, Bulgaria
2) Varna Free University “Chernorizets Hrabar”, Bulgaria.
3) University hospital “St. Marina”, Varna, Bulgaria.

Background: It has been discussed that being held hostage can have harmful short and often long-term physical, psychological, familial and social effects on the victims. This is a complex area of research and the data is sparse yet.
The aim of our study is to present our experience concerning some psychological and psychiatric consequences on Bulgarian seamen victims of pirate's attack long captivity and to suggest a suitable methodology of a psychological investigation in such cases.
Methods: Seven Bulgarian hostage survivors underwent comprehensive psychological and psychiatric assessments twenty days after pirate’s captivity release.
Results and discussion: In general terms, the psychological and psychiatric impact on the victims is similar to that of being exposed to other serious life-threatening events, including terrorist incidents and natural disasters.
All the subjects, who have been examined in our study, reported feelings of detachment and alienation from close others and startle by noises, nightmares and sleep disturbances. Anxiety symptoms, characterized by apprehension, tension and fear in particular situations, and some depressive features (depressive mood, lack of interest and activities, lassitude) on a sub- clinical level were registered.
Conclusion: Despite some limitations our report discusses important issues, concerning psychological and psychiatric consequences on Bulgarian seamen victims of pirate’s attack long captivity and present a suitable model of a psychological investigation in such cases and states the need of supportive care of the victims.

Key words: maritime piracy, seafarers, psychopathology, psychological/mental consequences,

- Download FULL TEXT /PDF 736 KB/
Please cite this article in PubMed Style or AMA (American Medical Association) Style:
Aleksandrov I, Arnaudova M, Stoyanov V, Ivanova V, Petrov PY. On Psychological and Psychiatric Impact of Piracy on Seafarers. J of IMAB. 2015 Oct-Dec;21(4):991-994.

Correspondence to: Mariana Arnaudova-Jekova, MD, PhD, Third Psychiatric Clinic, MHAT “St. Marina”; 1, Hristo Smirnenski str, 9010 Varna, Bulgaria; E-mail:

1. Alexander DA, Klein S. Kidnapping and hostage-taking: a review of effects, coping and resilience. J R Soc Med. 2009 Jan;102(1):16-21. [PubMed] [CrossRef].
2. Askevold F. War Sailor syndrome. Psychother Psychosom. 1976-1977; 27(3-6):>133–138. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
3. Skogstad M, Skorstad M, Lie A, Conradi HS, Heir T, Weisæth L. Work-related post-traumatic stress disorder. Occup Med. 2013 Apr;63(3):175-182. [PubMed] [CrossRef].
4. Struett MJ, Nance MT, Armstrong D. Navigating the Maritime Piracy Regime Complex. Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 2013 Jan-Mar;19(1):93-104.
5. Nikolić N, Pavletić N, Missoni E. Are we winning the war with the pirates? Int Marit Health. 2012; 63(4):195–203. [PubMed
6. Schranz C. The acute medical management of detained Somali pirates and their captives. Mil Med. 2012 Sep;177(9):1095–1099. [PubMed]
7. Ziello AR, Angioli RD, Fasanaro AM, Amenta F. Psychological consequences in victims of maritime piracy: the Italian experience. Int Marit Health. 2013; 64(3):136–141. [PubMed]
8. Garfinkle MS, Katz CL, Saratchandra J. The psychological impact of piracy on seafarers. The Seamen's Church Institute, New York. 2012.
9. Lauber C, Rössler W. Stigma Towards People with Mental Illness in Developing Countries in Asia. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2007 Apr;19(2):157-178. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
10. Weisaeth L. Torture of a Norwegian ship's crew. The torture, stress reactions and psychiatric after-effects. Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 1989; 355:63-72. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
11. Liwånga H, Karl Sörensona K, Östermand C. Ship security challenges in high-risk areas: Manageable or insurmountable? WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs. 2014 Oct;14(2):201-217. [CrossRef].

Received: 26 October 2015
Published online: 14 December 2015

back to Online Journal