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UK War Risks Club says investigating Fujairah ship sabotage incident

Singapore — The UK War Risks Club, which provides specialist insurance for ships, is investigating the incidents of sabotage of vessels in Fujairah port over the weekend and has not decided on additional premiums for the region, a company executive said Monday.

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The club, managed by insurance provider Thomas Miller, is one of the providers of marine Protection and Indemnity or P&I insurance, including additional war risks insurance for incidents like civil war, piracy or other disturbances.

Two Saudi oil tankers faced a "sabotage attack" off the coast of Fujairah, UAE, on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported Monday, citing the energy ministry. It said the tankers were on their way to cross into the Persian Gulf, and suffered "significant damage." UAE said separately that four commercial vessels were affected.

The incident raised concerns about the safety of vessels transiting the region and the implementation of additional marine insurance that could increase transportation costs for fleets including oil tankers.

"The Club is investigating what has happened in this incident as there have been a number of incorrect initial reports regarding the number of ships involved," Nick Whitear, Underwriting Director for Thomas Miller War Risks Services Limited, and Managers of the UK War Risks Association, said.

"If a change to the current designated 'Additional Premium' areas is to be made then this would be made with seven days' notice to shipowners," he added.

The UK War Risks Club last issued its circular on Indian Ocean regions that attract additional premiums on January 24, which included some waters in the Gulf of Aden and Southern Red Sea Transits, but did not include the port of Fujairah.

A vessel owner is required to give written notice before it proceeds to one of these regions to be eligible for insurance cover.

The coastal waters of Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen are all designated "additional-premium" areas as a variety of conflict and other war risk-related activity potentially threatens shipping in these areas, according to the Club.

--Eric Yep, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Dart, newsdesk@spglobal.com