The marine insurer West of England P&I Club has launched “west piracy protection,” to help shipowners manage the evolving threat of piracy in high-risk waters.

The new piracy protection product provides cover for vessels entering a war and piracy ‘breach’ area, such as the Gulf of Aden or the Gulf of Guinea, where there is a heightened risk of vessels being seized.

Specifically, this product provides insurance protection for piracy events where the traditional War policy coverage does not respond adequately to indemnify clients for the typical seizure situations that can take place in these geographic areas.

This includes incidents when ships are sometimes held for just a few hours at a time.

Ransom indemnity and reputational risk expenses are included in cover.

Indemnities are provided for ransoms, including loss of transit of a ransom, and the costs of response consultants and legal experts, including reputational risk expenses.

Expert support is provided for employees directly impacted by the seizure.

Furthermore, additional coverage is available for Loss of Hire related to a seizure, and for a maximum period of 14 days after release of the vessel.

It is developed in partnership with Hamilton underwriting platform with embedded expertise provided by Crisis24, one of the industry’s largest exclusively retained crisis response teams, and global law firm HFW, a market leader in the specialist field of piracy response.

Richard Turner, head of product development, said: “Through this new offering, we look forward to providing West Members and other shipowners with the support to manage the ever-present threat of piracy.”

The marine insurer claims that the “west piracy protection” responds to the realities of the evolving piracy threat faced by shipowners in such locations as the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea.

“We have seen a pattern of incidents where a vessel is hijacked for just a few hours, meaning that current market wording on Loss of Hire may not be triggered, or ceases as soon as the vessel is released, with little regard for the knock-on consequences, which may include crew changes or vessel repairs,” Richard Turner added.