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Published: 7 November 2023

Shipowners face a number of challenges when operating vessels in areas with geopolitical tensions. Navigating through such regions requires careful planning, risk assessment, and adherence to local and international regulations.

Before entering an area with high-risk tensions or conflicts it is recommended to always notify the Club’s underwriting department. In addition, the Joint War Committee (JWC) circular on Hull War, Piracy, Terrorism and Related Perils should be consulted. If the area is listed by the JWC list, it may also have a direct impact on hull premium.

The below provides practical advice on how to mitigate some of these risks:

  • Consult the flag state for any advice or recommendations for navigating in a particular high tension area
  • Follow flag state requirements in relation to Ship Security Levels under the ISPS Code
  • Review any regional specific security guidance on the region, such as the Best Management Practice Guides
  • Conduct a pre-voyage threat and risk assessment before entering regions with ongoing tensions
  • Amend the Ship Security Plan if the pre-voyage security threat and risk assessment deems it necessary
  • Ensure the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and any other identification systems are switched on and functional unless otherwise advised or for security reasons. If a system is turned off remember to keep a paper trial to later document that it was switched off due to security reasons
  • Consider privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel as a risk mitigation measure only in regions where local regulations permit their use
  • Preserve Voyage Data Recorder data in the event of an incident
  • Conduct Security drills prior to entering these areas
  • Avoid entering exclusion zones
  • Maintain a full and vigilant bridge watch
  • Always monitor and log relevant very high frequency (VHF) calls
  • Masters are to follow the advice of local/military authorities
  • Masters are encouraged to comply with all available Voluntary Reporting Schemes (VPS)
  • Promptly report suspicious activity as per the guidelines issued by the flag state, VPS or local authorities
  • Activate the Ship Security Alert System immediately in the event of an incident where the ship or crew is endangered.

Operating vessels in areas with geopolitical tensions can be challenging, but with careful planning and risk management, shipowners can navigate through these regions successfully. The Club has previously produced guidance covering on board security, which includes more generic security information.

Due to the fluid nature of many of these situations this guidance is to be considered generic and local agents are to be contacted for the most up to date and specific information.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact the loss prevention team.