Joint War Committee

The Joint War Committee comprises underwriting representatives from both the Lloyd’s and IUA company markets, representing the interests of those who write marine hull war business in the London market. It usually meets quarterly; also see Committee Terms of Reference.

Listed Areas

The current Listed Areas (areas of perceived enhanced risk) are detailed in 

JWLA024

Hormuz

On 6th August, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani reportedly stated that the UK could not use the Strait of Hormuz while Iran continued to be denied passage through the Strait of Gibraltar. “Security for security, peace for peace, strait for strait. The Strait of Hormuz cannot be opened for you while Gibraltar is closed to us,” Rouhani said. This would clearly complicate the already delicate situation if acted on.

In the meantime, ship owners report a heightened level of harassment when transiting. A general threat exists to all vessels in the region and specifically to tankers transiting Hormuz.

The attempted seizure of the British Heritage and the actual seizure of the Mesdar and the Stena Impero were in clear retaliation for Gibraltar impounding the Grace 1 for breaching sanctions on Syria and demonstrated that Iranian capability extends beyond the particularly vulnerable Strait of Hormuz itself.  However, the swift release of the Mesdar indicated that Iran wished to keep its actions proportionate, one for one. For the present, although a step on the escalation staircase has been ascended, the situation remains under comparative control. Since the US withdrew from the JCPOA, tensions between the US and Iran have been raised as Iran's ability to trade its oil has been steadily eroded. The IMF have shown that restrictions on the use of the dollar or the involvement of any US person or entity has significantly impacted the Iranian economy since 2007, and the US "maximum pressure campaign" has magnified the effect.

Following the explosions at Fujairah anchorage on 12th May this year, the JWC updated the Listed Areas to reflect the perceived heightened risk across the region. Vessels trading to the Gulf are now required to notify underwriters before entering the area. Whilst there are claims and counter-claims about specific points, the insurance market is faced with multiple million dollar losses and will be keenly aware of the issues including the high number of unknowns. Underwriters are following the situation closely and will be mindful of the many variables of risk when assessing further voyages in the region.

The enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia continues to add to the complexities in the region with the Saudis believing Iran is trying to control strategic waterways.

The situation will be kept under close review.

Libya
Vessels picking up refugees may have to divert to a different port to that originally intended; voyages may be lengthened and there are likely to be logistical and operational consequences. 

Status of Libyan Ports





Situation in Yemen
Iran and Saudi Arabia are effectively in a proxy conflict. There have been several cruise missile attacks on vessels in the Bab el Mandeb.

Foreign vessels are currently forbidden from entering Yemeni waters. Yemen does not have an effective navy of their own, so the Egyptian and Saudi navies have been mandated to enforce this. There are entry procedures for vessels to enter Hodeidah or Saleef port - a completed form must be sent to the Yemen Ministry of Transport, now based in Jeddah. The system works but needs much effort from concerned parties - there may be some vessels which the coalition will decline to authorise. 

The JWC's advisers, Herminius (formerly Aegis DS), are happy to take calls from members on specific issues. Lloyd's Agents office in Aden is in insurgent hands and thus closed. 

On 6th September 2017, CMF Bahrain announced the implementation of a Maritime Security Transit Corridor to include the Bab-el-Mandeb.

Piracy

The area of the Indian Ocean where ships need to be on their guard remains extensive. The military assessment is that although the pirate infrastructure remains in place, their appetite to take ships is reduced. The JWC Listed Area is set for business reason and is not the same as the UKMTO or BMP areas but in part serves a similar purpose, to alert ships to the potential dangers. The applicable US Executive Order effectively requires insurers to contact OFAC should they be involved in a piracy case.

Pirate activity is intermittent of Eastern Malaysia and a number of oil cargo seizures have occurred there. Oil cargo seizures have also been a problem in the Gulf of Guinea, but the recent focus has been on abductions.

Information

Below is some background on UKMTO Dubai:

Best Management Practice

The current version is BMP5. This version includes details of self-protection measures and a feedback request to masters on the effectiveness of the anti-piracy actions taken by the vessel. Maintaining vigilance, and reporting to UKMTO and MSCHOA are fundamental but only part of what prudent owners should do. It is clearly necessary for adequate training and regular practice to be given to crews to enable them to respond effectively when under attack or threat. Low speed and low freeboard remain factors which significantly increase the vulnerability of ships.

UKHO produced this anti-piracy planning chart for owners and masters.

Somalia background

Bulletins/Circulars

Previous Listed Areas

Wordings

The JWC issues wordings and clauses from time to time which are available for market use. Below are the wordings which allow underwriters to put the piracy peril into the war policy.

 

Contact us


Neil Roberts
Head of Marine Underwriting

Useful websites

IUMI website