The numbing events of 11 September 2001 continue to reverberate round the maritime world

The first and most widely expected result of the numbing events of 11 September 2001 is that Lloyds of London has increased war-risk premiums for cargo vessels visiting the Middle East. Lloyds themselves wouldn’t comment on the increases but reports have been received from a vessel planning to stop in Haifa, Israel on 14 September. The ship’s manager was asked to pay a one-time surcharge of US$110,000 and the ship’s voyage was cancelled as a direct result.

The US Military themselves has secured the tankers Sea Witch 1 and Torm Anne to sealift marine diesel from Kuwait to Diego Garcia, the US’ staging post in the Indian Ocean, and South Korea respectively.

Off East Timor, 3,000 US Marines and sailors rehearsed ship-to-shore landings on 16 September. The troops were initially bound for humanitarian work in Dili, in Indonesian West Timor. Instead, three amphibious ships led by the 40,000-ton USS Peleliu, stayed off the north coast of the capital carrying out exercises with Harriers, helicopters and landing craft.

From the Royal Navy, HMS Diligence and HMS Sea Crusader, together with mine hunters HMS Cattistock, HMS Quorn, HMS Walney and HMS Inverness passed south through the Suez Canal on 15 September to participate in what were described as previously planned military exercises at an undisclosed location.

Although the terrorist limelight has been trained on recent events in New York and Washington, terrorist activity still blights the maritime world outside its glare. On Saturday 15 September, 26 miles north of Sri Lanka’s Point Pedro, M/V The Pride of the South, with more than 1,200 Sri Lankan government troops onboard, was surrounded by more than 20 Tamil Tiger guerrilla vessels, some packed with explosives.

Both vessels engaged in what was described as a ‘fierce sea battle’ with ‘heavy fighting’. At least two rebel boats were blown up, killing ten rebels, while 47 troops were injured.

The last attack rumoured to have involved chief suspect Osama Bin Laden was a suicide attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, killing 17 sailors and crippling the Aegis class destroyer. She emerged from the Northrop Grumman facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi on 4 September after a US$105 million repair and refit.