Frequently Asked Questions

Have the number of hijacks increased in recent years?

Piracy statistics released by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) show that since 2006 the number of incidents has increased each year.

  • 239 in 2006
  • 263 in 2007
  • 293 in 2008
  • 406 in 2009

Most of this recent, large increase comes from attacks in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters.

What types of group carry out this crime?

The top 3 locations are the Somali area including the east coast and the Gulf of Aden, Nigeria and Indonesia.

Somali pirates report to warlords who are independent and operate autonomously. The pirates often operate from a mother ship that acts as a base for high speed launches that attack vessels. They have been known to operate well outside the territorial waters of Somalia.

Piracy is common in Nigerian waters, where freight ships and oil-industry vessels are most likely to be attacked in the waters near the Niger Delta. Militants attack vessels strip them of valuables; personal effects, navigational and communication devices and at the same time taking hostages for ransom.

What precautions should be taken?

Shipping companies with vessels passing through these areas are well advised to take additional security measures to lessen the risk of a successful attack and have contingency plans in place to respond to an act of piracy. It is important to monitor the seas through which vessels will be sailing, continually and use the information to assess the risk so that sensible precautions that reflect the prevailing threat can be taken.

What is the cost of the insurance?

The cost of insurance varies according to the risks that the vessel may be exposed to. Before being given a quotation you will be asked to complete a short application form which will ask questions relating to:

  • The shipowners and managers details
  • Vessel details
  • Security questions

What support does Griffin Underwriting provide when a vessel is hijacked?

Your policy will have an emergency number on the front page. This is a direct line to a 24-hour emergency service provided by our appointed security company. As soon as they are notified of an incident advice will be given over the phone and where appropriate an experienced consultant who has handled previous hijack cases will be sent to support the ship-owner/charterer whose vessel has been taken.

Negotiations are then carried out by ship-to-shore radio to the vessel owner’s Head Office. Vessel owners must stress to the pirates at an early stage during negotiations that the vessel’s crew and the vessel will only be considered as one package and negotiations will not be carried out for individual groups.


Griffin Underwriting Ltd is reinsured 100% with certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London and is registered in Guernsey under Registration No. 42359 and regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

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