Togo has been added to the Joint War Committee’s listed areas where additional war risk premiums are charged by London underwriters, according to a bulletin published by the Lloyd’s Maritime Association this week.
The Joint War Committee has added Togo to the “Hull War, Piracy, Terrorism and Related Perils” list, which includes Nigeria, Benin and parts of the Gulf of Guinea, in response to attacks on ships and a growing piracy threat in the region.
This follows news last week from the International Maritime Organization that West African heads of state will meet at the end of June to adopt a code to fight growing piracy in their coastal waters that would include the use of arrests, prosecutions and seizures of ships.
According to data from the International Maritime Bureau published earlier in the year, there has been a growing trend for piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea including in the Togo area.
On May 5 the IMB reported a product tanker had been fired upon by pirates while located 27 nautical miles south-southeast of Lome, Togo. The ship was undertaking ship-to-ship transfer of oil products when pirates were seen attempting to board the ship. The Togo Navy exchanged fire with the pirates and the boarding of the vessel was unsuccessful. All crew were reported safe. On May 17 there were other attempts to board a chemical tanker off Lome, which were also unsuccessful.
Historically Gulf of Guinea pirates would hijack ships, kidnap the crew while they siphoned off the cargo to the black market and then release the crew and ship. However, attacks are becoming increasingly violent and fatal, various piracy statistics show.
The Joint War Committee comprises underwriting representatives from the International Underwriting Association and Lloyd’s markets, representing the interests of those who write marine hull war business in the London market.