counter pirate ops

Questions of liability complicate offers of security forces

Lloyd’s List news service is reporting that the European Union is forming “vessel protection detachments” which will be offered free of charge in an effort to counter pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden.   This move follows an earlier move by France.  World Food Programme ships will be offered the EU service first.  The report also indicated that the detachments will first offer advice on what means ship masters can use to avoid a confrontation with pirates, before resorting to force.

Another report on the Lloyd’s List indicates that questions of liability for death or damages resulting from actions taken by the vessel protection units are complicating matters for ship owners.   “While their presence in itself probably would not automatically invalidate cover, the question of whether the owner is acting as a ‘prudent uninsured’ in allowing them onto his ship may arise, according to one expert. Moreover, injury or death to armed forces personnel is not covered by typical war risk policies, he added.”  A war risks underwriter: “If armed guards are on board, there are potentially quite serious insurance implications. Certain flag states prohibit weapons being carried on board ships as well.”