Maritime Terrorism Threat

The Singapore navy has warned that a terrorist group may be planning attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, according to CNN and Reuters reports. They cite an advisory issued by the Singapore Navy Information Fusion Centre (IFC) recommending that ships should “strengthen their on-board security measures and adopt community reporting to increase awareness and strengthen the safety of all seafarers.† They also note that the terrorists’ intent is probably to achieve widespread publicity and showcase that it remains a viable group. The advisory did not name a particular terrorist group, according to the reports. The maritime terrorist threat is a rising concern for ship owners and their insurers. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2010 report recently warned that a major terrorist attack that closed a port for weeks would have severe economic consequences on world trade because it would inflict major disruptions in complex just-in-time supply chains that comprise the global economy. There have been several Al-Qaeda-led attacks on maritime targets over the course of the past decade. The 2002 bombing of the French supertanker Limburg off Yemen spilled 90,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Aden and left one crewmember dead. Just two years earlier, the suicide bombing of U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole in 2000 while it was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden killed 17 American sailors and left 39 injured. Check out I.I.I. info on terrorism risk and insurance.

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