It has been confirmed that the crew of the Iceberg 1 were released on Decenber 23rd following action by the Puntland Maritime Police Force after being in captivity for two years and 9 months.
In the light of the ongoing threat, owners are often opting for the protection of security detachments. The standards of the personnel vary and there are as yet no widely adopted accreditation procedures which underwriters could use as a measure of quality. SAMI (Security Association for the Maritime Industry) made some progress with checking security company credentials and IMO has recently produced some guidelines for owners and flag states on parameters for security companies.
However, flag states have generally failed to clearly specify whether they allow armed guards, thus leaving legality an open question. The UK insurance position will in the first instance take account of Section 41 of the MIA, the implied warranty of legality under English law.
The area where ships are potential targets remains enormous. The JWC considered the increased range of the pirates given their use of substantial motherships and expanded the Listed Area acordingly. Pirate activity continues, although for the time being, at a reduced level. The lack of countries willing to prosecute captured pirates means that considerable numbers of captured pirates have simply been released to sail again. The US Executive Order effectively requires insurers to contact OFAC should they be involved in a piracy case.
EUNAVFOR believes that voyage registration is falling and over 25% of vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden fail to register with MSCHOA or report to UKMTO and are therefore unable to benefit fully from the naval protection which is available. In one sample of incidents, out of 15,000 vessels which registered their transits, only 2 were taken.