A SHARP increase in insurance premiums is unlikely, according to Lloyd's Market Association Underwriting Senior Executive Neil Roberts, whose comments came in the wake of an alleged terrorist strike on the 10,063-TEU Cosco Asia while leaving the Suez Canal.
It has since emerged that the incident may have been caused by an exploding gas cylinder onboard the vessel, rather than a terrorist attack as earlier feared, said a Lloyd's Agent on the ground.
Insurance premiums for ships transiting the Suez Canal can only increase if underwriters have the ability to verify incidents, said Mr Roberts.
"As things stand, that ability is partial," he said. "Currently Egypt and Suez are not on the Listed Areas so only renewals and new business could be affected. Therefore seeking additional war risk cover is not necessary.
"The situation is under review but it is known that the Egyptian security forces treat the Suez Canal as a high priority at all times," he said.
There is a rising risk of attack in the Mediterranean between the Suez Canal and the Straits of Gibraltar, warns former UK Counter-Piracy Task Group commander Gerry Northwood.
Mr Northwood, now a security contractor, believes it is "almost inevitable" that there will be an attack in future and shipowners should revise their security plans accordingly.
"The area of risk has extended to the Mediterranean because al-Qaeda and affiliates are operating in North Africa and may identify locations in the Mediterranean where they could launch an attack against either large cargo ships or cruise liners," he said.