Security, Special Risk & Response Group

Maritime Special Risk & Piracy Negotiation & Recovery Services

SVA has an unparalleled track record in the discreet and effective handling of special risk issues in three especially sensitive areas:

All of the above present unique and different challenges to corporations, ship owners and the families of those involved. Specialist knowledge, commitment and practical experience is required to help mitigate risk and where necessary to be able to effectively respond to incidents.

The International Maritime Bureau and other organisations statistics show an alarming increase in piracy attacks, year on year. Piracy hot spots now include major shipping routes through Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Africa, the Gulf of Aden and as far afield as Bangladesh. 

Recently Chinese and other ship owners have paid very significant ransoms – some in excess of US$10 million to secure crews. The hard reality is that, despite considerable efforts by various governments, little progress is being made and the piracy problem is escalating.

Ship owners, ship charterer’s and others clearly need to take appropriate independent measures to protect their crews, ships and cargos. The situation is further complicated by a lack of clarity as to whether existing insurance policies under P&I, hull, war and cargo insurance are completely sufficient or appropriate for payments to ransom crews. This lack of clarity is a cause of considerable concern.

The perceived wisdom at this time is that a standalone maritime kidnap and ransom policy is desirable.

SVA draws on deep experience in dealing with kidnap and ransom incidents and in conducting negotiations to recover victims in various locations.

SVA is an independent organisation and, whilst we do regularly work with various insurers, we have no financial tie, retainer or specific formal allegiance to any single provider. We can be “designated” as the kidnap and ransom consultant for any shipping company with the agreement of the insurer. 

SVA is also happy to work (on a non exclusive basis) with other reputable service providers, as may be necessary to serve the best interests of victims. This may be especially useful given SVA’s Asia Pacific presence and capabilities and the long distance and response times from the U.S.A. or U.K.

Maritime Special Risk and Piracy Negotiation and Recovery Services:

  • Prevention/Training and evaluation: on behalf of ship owners or insurers, SVA will conduct reviews of policies and procedures on board ship and with ship owners headquarters. These reviews will focus on compliance with international security agreements and codes as well as examining the level of preparation for preventing or dealing with a piracy incident.
  • Individual vessel security surveys: to determine the level of preparedness of the ship and crew and to examine appropriate measures to harden the vessel as a target.
  • Maritime incident response: to ensure that officers, crew and ship owners are employing best practices to avoid, deter or delay piracy attacks and that all key best practice recommendations are in place to ward of attacks; including testing of safe muster points and citadel. 
  • Insurance policy: SVA is also able to evaluate current insurance policies and to advise whether or not they are sufficient in light of the new threat. 
  • Port threat assessments: to offer clients reliable intelligence as to which ports or locations are a higher risk to shipping and to make appropriate recommendations.
  • Incident response services: to swiftly respond, evaluate the situation and determine the facts.
  • Negotiation and release of hostage(s): the hands-on negotiation process and organisation of a ransom payment; this consistent with – insurance or other factors and the all important recovery of the crew.
  • Post incident debriefing: re-evaluation of planning and the effectiveness of existing policies and procedures to prevent future incidents.