842 - 08/12 - Armed Robbery - Ecuador


Recent acts of piracy and armed robberies in the Guayaquil channel, Ecuador, have been brought to the Club's attention. These attacks are increasing in numbers and pose a serious threat to maritime commerce in the area.

The pirates’ modus operandi is simple. Usually, an unlit craft approaches the target vessel at high speed, the pirates then board the vessel using the pilot ladder or their own equipment (hooks attached with ropes and monkey ladders). Containers on the vessel are then opened randomly and goods removed. These attacks are very brief lasting between five and ten minutes and generally occur at night.

The long river distance down the Guayaquil channel is low lying and largely unlit making good ground for pirates to launch attacks from. The issue is compounded as local police do not have enough resources to cover this ground.

As their boats are small the pirates’ loot only a small amount of cargo. However, the value of the cargo stolen does not represent the value of potential claims that a member could face. Claims rise when a receiver becomes reluctant to take possession of affected containers due to broken seals or spoiled and damaged cargo or thorough other related issues that may or may not entitle the receivers to reject the cargo.

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