Who are the real victims?

Author:Neuman, Pierre de
Position:The pirate menace - Letter to the editor

I was very interested in Tom Nevin's article Pirates, high costs, hammer Egypt (African Business, April 2009 issue). Now that nearly 30% of the Indian Ocean, or around 2.5m sq km of its waters, is considered a high risk shipping region with the Somali-based pirates becoming ever bolder and venturing further offshore, ship owners are facing higher and higher insurance costs to cover their vessels and their crews.

I have heard that the insurance market is now quoting around $3,000 a day for $3m cover for those ships plying the danger areas. Each crew member must also be covered against loss of life or injury, and when a ship is seized by pirates, the ship owners face additional costs in terms of the days the vessels are out of commission.

It all adds up to a huge cost, and guess who is paying it? It is each and every consumer, because the only way that a shipping line can meet higher insurance costs is to put up its...

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