With last year’s bill for running faster through high-risk areas put at $2.7bn, shipping companies have switched to relying on guards, rather than speed, for protection.
Ships slow down in pirate waters to save fuel
By Robert Wright, Shipping and Logistics Correspondent, Financial Times
Violent confrontations between Somali pirates and merchant ships’ armed guards could become more common as some shipping companies have reduced ship speeds through the highest-risk area to save on fuel, maritime experts have warned.
The shipping companies have switched to relying on guards, rather than speed, for protection because a single day at lower speeds can save $50,000 in fuel at current prices – enough to pay the guards for the whole journey.
The speed reductions contravene published advice that ships should use their maximum speed in the highest-risk areas. Pirates have never managed to board a vessel travelling at 18 knots or more and container ships and other faster vessels have traditionally crossed the high risk area up to 1,500 miles off Somalia’s coast at up to 24 knots.
Ron Widdows, chief executive of Germany’s Rickmers Holding, a major shipowner, said…….[access full article]