30 out of 31 recent pirate attacks could have been avoided, says MARLO

A recent statistic from the Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) suggested that 30 out of 31 recent pirate attacks could have been avoided had best practice been invoked.

Commentators think much more can be done by ship owners in the area of crisis training and piracy prevention. “Guile and determination from pirates, combined with inadequate preparation on board vessels, has allowed for three confirmed [piracy] cases in less than one week,” commented Clive Stoddart, head of Aon’s kidnap and ransom team.

In light of the recent spike in pirate attacks, Stoddart called on ship owners to review insurance cover if transiting the Gulf of Aden or parts of the Indian Ocean - specifically the Somali Basin.

He said: "Traditional marine insurance policies do not always cover piracy so we’ve seen an increased interest from ship owners for specialist marine kidnap and ransom policies. These provide guaranteed access to advice at the time of an incident in addition to reimbursement of the ransom, cost of delivery of ransom and legal costs that may occur during a period of illegal seizure.”

“Ship owners are realising that even though the Gulf of Aden is relatively well protected, the Somali Basin is a vast and relatively unprotected body of water so they must improve their defensibility. Insurers have in turn shifted their focus on the more exposed Somali Basin from the Gulf of Aden.”