Pirates Are Real and Dangerous

LONDON – The number of piracy attacks on vessels rose by nearly 20% in the first quarter of 2003, according to the International Maritime Bureau. IMB statistics show 103 actual and attempted attacks on vessels in the first quarter of 2003, compared with 87 during the same period last year. Many vessels were boarded while at port or under sail.

According to the IMB, in most instances the value of material losses to a ship owner amounts only to a few thousand dollars, but there is considerable risk and trauma for crews.

One of the most notorious acts of piracy to take place during the first quarter was the February boarding of the Ukrainian tanker Mekhanik Karasyov in Brazilian waters. Pirates using heavy weapons opened fire on the crew, killing the chief officer and seriously wounding the second officer.

Neil Smith, marine manager at Lloyd’s Market Assn., said that while the increase in incidents of piracy was worrying, “so far, they have not had a detrimental effect on our members in financial terms. Material losses, by and large, have been relatively small”.

Mr. Smith added that he did not believe that the increase in piracy would effect marine hull premiums.

The above story was printed in a recent issue of Business Insurance. We live pretty sheltered lives and think that Pirates are only found in Disneyland.

What we found MOST interesting in the story is the section that says, “According to the IMB, in most instances the value of risk losses to a ship owner amounts only to a few thousand dollars, but there is considerable risk and trauma for crews”.

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