In October of 1862, Captain Hagar of the ship Brilliant reported to the New York Chamber of Commerce in graphic detail the capture and burning of his ship.
The Light of a Burning Ship
The following proceedings marked a change in maritime custom, noting that the Alabama would burn one ship and lie in wait to capture any would-be rescuing ships. The sight of a burning ship could no longer be considered a call to aid but a signal to steer clear of potential pirates. "...in view of this atrocity (the burning of the Union ship Brilliant), it is the duty of this chamber to announce, for the information of all who are interested in the safety of human life--the life of ship-wrecked passengers and crews--that henceforth the light of a burning ship at sea will become to the American sailor the signal that lures to destruction; and will not be, as in times past, the beacon to guide the generous and intrepid mariner to the rescue of the unfortunate."
-Proceedings of the New York Chamber of Commerce.