Definition - What does Barratry mean?

When used in the context of maritime law, barratry is the term for certain crimes committed by a vessel's captain or crew.

In general, the illegal activity classified as barratry includes any deliberate conduct that puts the vessel and/or its cargo at risk. This includes but is not limited to cargo theft, human trafficking and intentional sinking or grounding.

Justipedia explains Barratry

Historically, the term barratry has been used to describe a myriad of maritime misdeeds, including those targeting the person who owns or charters a vessel:

  • In some cases, this can include negligence, but only if it is so blatant that it clearly occurred in the commission of fraud.
  • Mutiny, in which the crew succeeds in its attempt to take control of the vessel from its rightful commander, is another example of barratry.
  • Any other misconduct perpetrated by the captain or crew for their own gain may also be classified as barratry.
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