From: Montpellier, France
Well, the private ships doing a lousy job is something you should not concern yourself too much with. It has been this way from the first version of the game, and I fear it will be continue to be so indefinitely.
The thing is, there are many, many of these ships in a game, which means losing one is not a big loss, and driving them around is probably a significant load on the CPU, so their AI cannot afford to be very elaborate. Well, I suppose that, as the game already keeps track of dangerous sectors, it wouldn't be hard or costly to make them avoid them, but I wouldn't count on it.