Maritime Insurance - a new cause for concern

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Martyn Lowe

There has been a lot of press coverage within the last few years about pirate activities around the world, and in particular in and around the coastal waters of Somalia.

This is something which has exercised lot of attention both within the maritime and insurance industries.

So far there have been four kinds of responses to this problem:

  • A call for more naval forces to be present within the Gulf region.
  • More "protective devices" being placed on merchant ships which sail through dangerous shipping lanes. These includes barbed wire which run along the sides of ships, and devices which
    are trailed behind them in the sea.
  • Private companies have been established to provide armed guards for merchant ships.
  • Companies which organise armed escort vessels, or offer protection to merchant ships which sail in convoy through the Gulf waters.

At the same time, two new organisations have come in to existence: SaveOurSeafarers, and the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI).

SaveOurSeafarers campaigns to get more naval forces to operate within those areas which are subject to piracy.

While the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI): "provides an independent regulatory trade association for maritime security companies".

One of the latest trends has been for the maritime insurance industry to offer cheaper insurance for those merchant ships which have armed guards aboard them.
This whole issue has also raised many new questions regarding both international and maritime law. All of which means that there is no one way in which we can tackle this issue.

So what can we do about this?

For pacifists this means more than just campaigning against a few mercenary forces.

So far I have managed to track what has been happening with this issue on my blog. We need a coordinated effort to work on this new development of war profiteering.

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