Munich Re Warns on Piracy Threat

Modern pirates may no longer favor black beards, eye patches and rum, but they nonetheless remain a threat to shipping. Munich Re has duly recognized the problem in a newly issued brochure on the hazard of piracy at sea, which also discusses the “the legal and underwriting implications, and loss minimization options.”

Munich Re noted: “The number of pirate attacks on merchant vessels has risen sharply in the last thirty to forty years. There is evidently a clear connection between mounting prosperity and increasing international trade in some parts of the world and political instability, wars, and growing poverty in others. The piracy hot spots are off the coasts of Southeast Asia, West Africa, Somalia, South America, and the Caribbean islands, but also in the eastern Mediterranean.

“Every year, hundreds of ships are attacked and hostages taken, hundreds of sailors are injured, traumatized, or killed, the ensuing losses total billions of dollars, and when oil tankers are captured, for example, there is the danger of environmental disasters — a situation that causes concern not only to shipping companies and governments. Marine insurers and reinsurers are thinking about measures designed to control and prevent piracy too.”

Munich Re published the brochure – “Piracy — Threat at Sea” – to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the International Maritime Bureau. The reinsurer said it “contributes towards the analysis of the danger arising from piracy and explains the legal situation at both national and international levels. It highlights underwriting aspects and describes ways of reducing the risk.”

The brochure can be found on Munich Re’s Website at: Or it can be ordered from the company upon request – (to place an order, please call +49 (0) 89 38 91-2508 or send an e-mail to