BIMCO has expressed concern by the recent revelations indicating that the explosion on board the supertanker Limburg
was caused by an act of terrorism, the first attack on an innocent merchant vessel since the Achille Lauro incident in 1985. The French tanker, owned by BIMCO members CMB, was en route to Yemen when she was apparently rammed by a motorboat packed with explosives in a way similar to the attack on the US naval ship Cole
at Aden on October 12, 2000.
The Limburg incident illustrates well the dire consequences created by acts of terrorism, placing the lives of seafarers in grave danger with fatal consequences, causing severe material damage and, not least, causing significant environmental harm. It also raises questions as to which, if any, of the maritime security initiatives now under development at the IMO and elsewhere could have helped to prevent such an attack.
In the light of these revelations BIMCO is now advising its members to liase with their hull and machinery underwriters and P&I Clubs, and to evaluate the vulnerability of their ships based on their trading patterns, in order to safeguard lives and property.
BIMCO regularly issues advice to its members on matters of maritime security, encompassing issues such as the prevention of drug smuggling on ships, stowaway boardings, piracy attacks (particularly off the Somali coast
), and armed robbery against ships at ports and anchorages.