Most of us are aware of the risks we take every day, but we ran across an interesting article recently that involved a risk we had not considered: being captured by pirates.
Believe it or not, in certain parts of the world, it’s happening.
Impoverished areas dotting the coasts of Nigeria, Somalia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines have been virtual breeding grounds for partially-organized collections of criminals seeking to steal, hijack, kidnap and murder their way to fortune.
We have seen news reports of pirates attacking oil tankers and holding them for ransom. The peak of this occurred in 2011. Since then, shippers have improved security, hired armed escorts and received military assistance.
This modern era of the 21st century pirate is being successfully stunted, yet maritime kidnappings for ransom are on the rise. Although the number of pirate attacks is decreasing throughout the world, the number of kidnappings taking place during those attacks is increasing. Internationally, pirates kidnapped 62 persons in 2016, all of whom were or are still being held for ransom.
Pirates realized that it’s easier to capture people and spirit them away that to deal with ships that can’t be hidden. People are smaller and pound-for-pound a great deal more valuable. So we now have a new growth industry: Kidnap and Ransom (K&R) Insurance. If you are planning to travel to the pirate infested waters of Southeast Asia or off the coast of Africa you may want to check out the rates for K&R insurance. For a premium you’ll get unlimited funding for a crisis response team whose sole mission is to get you safely home.
If you plan to take your yacht through the South China Sea or the Malaccan Straights this is something you may want to consider.
Meanwhile, in this part of the world, we’ll keep an eye on the risks with which we are more familiar: market fluctuations, tax changes, interest rate increases, economic trends and even those things we can’t foresee known as Black Swans. Stay safe.