The hijacking and subsequent destruction of the Brillante Virtuoso by pirates is one of the most bizarre episodes in high-seaspiracy that any person working in shipping can recall. Bandits attacked the giant oil tanker as it was transiting the Gulf of Aden in July 2011. The area was rife with Somali pirates at the time. A consortium of British and American insurances was liable for nearly $100 million in payments to Marios Iliopoulos (a wealthy Greek businessman) after the incident. Iliopoulos and the insurers ended up in bitter legal disputes, with each side accusing another of violating the law. Iliopoulos was arrested by British police on suspicion of fraud. He denied any wrongdoing and wasn’t charged. The insurers had also hired an armed team of bodyguards to protect one of their lawyers in Greece. He’d been warned that he was “marked and ready for extermination.”
The oil tanker Brillante Vioso was cruising through the dangerous Gulf of Aden in July 2011 when pirates attacked her and set it ablaze. David Mockett was a maritime surveyor who visited the vessel and left with more questions than answers. Mockett was then killed in a car bombing shortly after.
Bloomberg reporters Matthew Campbell (Bloomberg) and Kit Chellel (Portfolio) in their 2022 book ” dead in the water: A True Story about Hijacking, Murder and a Global Maritime Conspiracy,” published in Portfolio, shed light on the complex and corrupt world of international shipping. This episode of Bloomberg’s Storylines tells the story of one of the most notorious insurance fraud cases of all time, and the death and damage that it caused.