Modern Piracy

Modern Piracy

Legal Challenges and Responses

Edited by Douglas Guilfoyle

Modern Piracy is the first book to survey the law of maritime piracy from both public law and commercial law perspectives, as well as providing a contextual overview of piracy in major hotspots. Topics covered include issues of international law, law-enforcement cooperation, private armed security, ransoms, insurance and carriage of goods by sea. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the range of legal issues presented by the modern piracy menace and will be of interest to scholars and practitioners alike.

Chapter 12: Insurance protection against piracy

Peter MacDonald Eggers QC

Subjects: law - academic, maritime law, public international law


With the rise of piracy in the modern world in Somalia and elsewhere, the risks encountered by shipowners, cargo-owners, traders, crew members and passengers of sustaining a loss by piracy is one for which there should be adequate protection. Such protection may be arranged by suitable risk-allocation provisions in transport and sale contracts or by appropriate insurance cover. If a piratical attack occurs, such contractual assignments of risk become critical to the contractual parties. Once pirates attack or seize a vessel, those interested in the maritime adventure (i.e., the voyage of a ship and cargo) – those who own the property and those who will financially benefit from the adventure – will alert their contractual counterparts. Almost invariably, this will involve notifying the attack or seizure to the parties’ insurers. The insurance industry has had to respond to attempted and successful piratical attacks using legal principles developed since the foundation of the industry and insurance law itself. Piracy was in the past a prevalent risk insured against and, in recent years, has become prevalent again. The operation of an insurance contract and the essential elements of a valid insurance claim can be usefully considered against the background of a piratical attack on a ship and cargo. Today, such attacks occur in particular areas around the world. A typical attack can occur when a ship with cargo on board is transiting the Gulf of Aden or the Indian Ocean and the ship is attacked by Somali pirates who threaten and seek to take possession of the vessel,

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