MAST (‘Maritime Asset Security and Training’), a leading security organization that provides specialist global security services for the maritime community, has partnered with Beazley Group to offer a tailored piracy insurance policy designed specifically for shipowners with vessels operating in the Gulf of Guinea.
The specialist policy has been developed in response to an increase in attacks, kidnaps and ransom demands against commercial ship owners operating in the Gulf of Guinea. This is in marked contrast to the Gulf of Aden, where latest figures from the International Maritime Bureau show a 54 per-cent drop in the number of piracy attacks in the region, due largely to the steps taken by the international community to improve piracy detection and prevention, including through the use of private maritime security companies (‘PMSCs’).
The new product, Gulf of Guinea Piracy Plus, combines cover for both the kidnapping of crew for ransom and the illegal seizure of the vessel for theft of cargo along with the inclusion of a tailored risk assessment and comprehensive incident response service provided by MAST.
MAST will conduct a threat and risk assessment, safety guidance on operating in the Gulf of Guinea, and provide optional 24-hour vessel tracking. In the event of an incident, MAST will monitor the ship, track the cargo and, if necessary, deploy an armed security team to aid the vessel’s safe return to the ship owner. MAST’s office in Lagos will ensure that incident response times are fast and risk assessments can be undertaken locally.
Phillip Cable, CEO of MAST said: “We are delighted to be working with Beazley on Gulf of Guinea Piracy Plus. Hijack incidents are extremely stressful and worrying for ship owners, and in order for them to be resolved successfully it is vital that the appropriate measures are taken in an appropriate and timely fashion. Our local presence and contacts facilitate cargo recovery and safe transit for the ship owners’ employees after release.”
Michael Sharp, kidnap and ransom underwriter at Beazley Group said: “The risk of piracy off West Africa is significant. Unlike attacks off Somalia where hijacks focus on holding the crew for ransom, the pirates in the Gulf of Guinea usually focus on the theft of cargo where the associated costs are not covered under a standard piracy policy. As such, we recognised there was a need for a tailored service for ships operating there, and we are delighted that MAST has agreed to provide such a service to our clients.”