Mounting concern over piracy’s threat to global cruises should be a wake-up call to all cruise travellers. World cruise passengers are encouraged to seek travel insurance capable of covering losses due to a cancelled or diverted itinerary or even a hijacking attempt if they sail on risky African routes.
Cruise companies Seabourn, MSC, Fred. Olsen and Peter Deilmann have all announced changes to upcoming sailings that are aimed at keeping passenger ships away from global hotspots where piracy is becoming rampant. And most cruise companies cite unsafe routes between otherwise friendly ports of call as the main reason for rerouting their ships.
The number of attacks on ships by pirates in 2008 well exceeded 2007, and by October 2009, had already exceeded the 2008 total. Despite the presence of world navies, pirates are getting bolder, attacking oil tankers and cruise liners.
Not all travel insurance providers are aware of the implications of increased piracy for the cruise industry. Cruise ships on lengthy world voyages often travel through the Gulf of Aden as a convenient bridge between the Mediterranean and Asia, even though this stretch of the Arabian Sea in the Horn of Africa is a favourite hunting zone for pirates. Many travel insurance plans don't specifically cover for loss due to acts of piracy.
If you are going on a cruise, check that your travel insurance covers piracy.