The word 'pirates' in a charter1 must be interpreted in its popular sense and not as a technical term of English criminal law or international law2. It applies to persons who are plundering indiscriminately for private gain and are not operating only against the property of a particular state for a political end3. Wrongful seizure of the ship or cargo by such persons on the high seas will be within the exception4.
Where the exception includes the word 'robbers', the shipowner is only protected where violence has been used; he remains liable to the charterer where the loss is due
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