Almost 90 percent of all global trading uses international shipping, so the costs of keeping people, ships and cargo safe at sea have a major impact on the transportation industry. However, until the 2013 release of the Oscar-nominated movie, Captain Phillips, many were unaware of piracy threats in international shipping.
Though piracy has dropped worldwide since 2011, particularly off the coast of Africa, incidents have increased dramatically in Southeast Asia. Since reasons and motivations for piracy differ in different parts of the world, finding solutions to reduce these incidents is a constant battle.
This work to improve safety and security comes with increased costs to the transportation industry: insurance premiums, increased security, stolen cargo and late or delayed shipments. Below are a few precautions that international shipping companies take to try to ensure a safe and timely arrival.
To avoid areas with high threat levels, a ship may need to use an alternate shipping route, so arrival times may become flexible.
If the cargo contains highly sensitive items, there may be extra security in place on the ship, including armed guards or advanced alarm systems, which are common in the transportation industry. Many ships also include barbed wire fences, fire hoses, air horns and GPS navigation systems for added safety.
Even with the extra security measures, marine insurance is sometimes recommended. Coverage varies by policy type, and there are several ways to determine protection. If your shipment needs insurance, review this information with your agent and ensure you fully understand your coverage.
Maritime shipping is a huge part of the global economy, and at any given moment there are hundreds of thousands of ships at sea.