Following the very significant spike in piracy activity between 2008 and 2013, particularly in the Horn of Africa/Arabian Gulf region, the slowdown in hi-jacking and piracy incidents in all regions has continued, according to Nigel Carden, chairman, Maritime Security Subcommittee, IGP&I, writing in the just published IG P&I 2017 report. Carden said that this was good news both for shipowners and for their marine insurers, noting that a variety of factors had contributed to the downturn in attacks since around 2013, “not least improved diligence by shipowners in preparing their vessels and crews for trading in piracy-prone regions, and the continuing use of armed guards on board many vessels.” Carden said that a further major factor in the Horn of Africa/Arabian Golf/Gulf of Aden region had undoubtedly been the significant deterrent of the coordinated naval forces under the EUNavfor/Operation Atalanta initiatives launched at the end of 2008. However, Carden warned that the mandate of the operations would stop at the end of December 2018, and a phased reduction in the naval presence in the region had been in progress for some time. Carden observed that the hijacking of the tanker Aris 13 off the coast of Somalia in March 2017 was the first such incident involving a commercial vessel in the area since 2012. Although this was resolved following the intervention of local naval forces, Carden said that the incident raised the question of whether a declining naval presence would “embolden pirates and reverse the trend of the past four years of declining levels of piracy activity in the region”. Carden noted that, although cover for ransoms was not included in the protection enjoyed by Members of the Group clubs as of right, any third-party liabilities arising out of piracy incidents, including crew claims, property or cargo loss or damage, and environmental damage, were all included in club cover, “wit source: insurancemarinenews
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