SE Asian waters become the world’s emerging piracy hotspot

5 January 2015

Though the ‘epidemic’ of Somali based piracy has been significantly brought under control since 2011, Bellwood Prestbury is getting a growing number of requests for Maritime Security Insurance from companies operating in the seas of Southeast Asia.

Described as ‘The Most Dangerous Waters in the World’ by Time magazine, Southeast Asia has overtaken the West Indian Ocean as the world’s worst piracy hotspot. In the first 9 months of 2014, 103 of the 178 globally reported pirate attacks happened here, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). 

Fatal attack on a Vietnamese vessel

Many of these attacks have been petty theft on anchored ships, but there is now increasing incidence of well-organised attacks on larger vessels at sea, most notably oil tankers whose cargoes can earn the pirates rich pickings. Indeed, recently a crewmember of a Vietnamese vessel was shot dead by pirates, in the twelfth such hijacking this year.

Concerns over the Strait of Malacca

Sources in the maritime security industry say that any violent attacks that occur tend to take place in the Strait of Malacca, the 900km long sea lane between western Malaysia and Indonesia – a popular route in and out of Singapore. It’s a narrow channel with thousand of islets and hidden bays providing perfect cover for surprise attacks.

In view of this changing situation, maritime security is becoming a new priority for shipping operators and charter companies operating in the region. Companies are also looking for cargo insurance that will be valid in known piracy areas. 

Cover to meet BIMCO GUARDCON standards

Over the years, we have worked with numerous private maritime security companies (PMSCs) to provide high quality, competitively priced protection for their people and their business liabilities. 

We provide bespoke policies compliant with BIMCO GUARDCON standards, including professional indemnity, general liability and employers liability insurance. Other cover can also be arranged such as directors’ and officers’ (D&O) insurance, personal accident and kidnap and ransom insurance.

Our experience means that we understand each company’s particular needs in the regions they are operating in. We often find that PMSCs have been paying higher premiums than necessary because of the way policies have been set up, or because territories are not being properly defined.

We are also an affiliate member of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) and a preferred provider of insurance services to benefit the Association and its members. 

For information and confidential advice please contact us on +44 (0) 207 305 5650.

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Categories: Maritime Security, Somalia insurance

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