A rare attack off the coast of South America has highlighted the global risks from piracy now being faced by vessels.
Although the number of attacks of piracy at sea have decreased in 2020, when compared to 2019, the spread of attacks has increased. Half of all attacks occurred in Nigeria, a fall from 71% in 2019 showing that pirates are travelling further afield to target vessels.
Western crew members are particularly at risk of kidnap, with crew being taken ashore and ransom demanded. Taking into account the wide area now seemingly being operated in by pirates it is becoming more and more advisable that ship-owners ensure they hold specific kidnap & ransom insurance because this may be only covered by their standard P&I cover on a discretionary basis or in certain limited circumstances.
Given the complicated nature of ransom and hijacking events, ensuring you have expert support is going to be key to resolving the situation as swiftly as possible, crisis consultants are usually provided for by the insurance.
It is also important to make sure you have clear Anti-Piracy guidelines in your Safety Management System (SMS) and that those onboard the vessel know what to do in the event they suspect an attempted piracy attack.