Lloyd’s Brokers Respond to Piracy Threats Against Ships’ Crews

January 17, 2006

Specialist intermediary Seacurus and Lloyd’s broker Cooper Gay have launched “CrewSEACURE,” a new type of marine cover underwritten within Lloyd’s, which addressees the rising instances of piracy, especially in Southeast Asia (See IJ Website Jan. 28, 2004).

The brokers have developed a “new type of kidnap and ransom insurance” for ship owners following rising levels of piracy attacks around the globe. A bulletin on the Lloyd’s Website (www.lloyds.com) cited Captain Thomas Brown, managing director of Seacurus, who noted that the “product had been developed in response to the escalating number of armed attacks against vessels throughout the world. He said this often resulted in crews and passengers being taken as hostages with ransoms demanded for their release.”

This represents somewhat of a departure from traditional piracy, which, Brown indicated, usually involved the seizure of vessels in order to sell their cargoes. “In some cases they repaint and rename the vessels taken and try to sell them on,” Brown stated. “However, pirates have started to target the crews because they can ransom them back to the ship owners faster and easier than trying to handle and sell a cargo.”

The bulletin said: “The new insurance policy will provide ship owners with the immediate support of specialists for ransom negotiation and maritime risk management.”

Brown explained: “It has also been driven by the issues of corporate governance and the need to provide safety and security for their staff. The product is not just about the security of having the cost of a ransom repaid. It is about the access to expert assistance and advice if an incident should happen.”

“We have seen incidents across the world, and the numbers of these types of attacks are growing,” he continued “The nature of the cover means that information on policyholders is closely guarded but we have already received a number of inquires about the product.”

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