The hazards of a shipping route affect not just the cargo being transported and the vessel used to do so: They also have a real potential cost for your business, especially if the typical rate of delivery is disrupted. An article for Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide recently chronicled the persistent problem of piracy and other incidents at sea, and the effect they have on shipping performance.

The source specifically addresses the condition known as "General Average Loss." In shipping, this pertains to action that is taken to help protect a vessel at the cost of the cargo. An example given by the article involves jettisoning cargo to make a ship lighter. Who pays for this and to what extent depends upon the cause of the loss and the results of the "sacrifice."

One way to prepare for piracy risks is to look at the records of recent attacks. In the most recent International Maritime Organization (IMO) report on piracy, dated May 29 2014, the group noted incidents that occurred in both international and territorial waters to vessels of Malaysian, Japanese and Italian origin, among others. In some cases ship property was stolen, while in others, precious cargo like oil and scrap metal was taken. The majority of noted incidents took place in the Strait of Malacca in southeast Asia.

Using international marine insurance, companies will have some preparation for dealing with potentially costly attacks. Both the safety of cargo and the procedures used by the crew to cope with these dangers are important factors in determining proper loss amounts and compensation. Finding a worthwhile policy can also set a precedent for future endeavors.

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