Joint War Committee

Joint War Committee
May 16, 2023

The Joint War Committee is composed of representatives from both Lloyd's and IUA companies that underwrite marine hull war business on the London market. It meets quarterly to discuss its mandate (see also Committee Terms of Reference). The JWC engages independent security advisers called Herminius to provide objective input and support for the Listed Areas.

Listed Areas

The JWC periodically updates and disseminates the Listed Areas, which are regions where ship owners must notify underwriters of their voyages. Insurance rates are determined by individual negotiations between underwriters and brokers, and the JWC does not play a role in this process. The Committee last reviewed the areas in February 2022 and issued an update regarding the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. 


On March 31st (JW2022-009), an advisory regarding mines was released. Given the unpredictable and dynamic nature of the overall situation, the JWC is holding more frequent meetings to stay informed about developments. The Listed Areas will be adjusted as necessary based on changing circumstances.

Several ship casualties have been reported near Odessa, including the Namura Queen, Millennial Spirit, and Yasa Jupiter. Approximately 84 ships are currently stranded in the region.


Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated since the US withdrew from the JCPOA, diminishing Iran's ability to trade its oil. The International Monetary Fund has shown that restrictions on the use of the US dollar and the involvement of US entities have significantly impacted the Iranian economy since 2007. The US "maximum pressure campaign" has amplified this effect.

Given the opposing directions of US foreign policy and Iranian domestic policy, ongoing friction and varying levels of tension are expected. Ship owners report increased harassment during transit. All vessels in the region are threatened, particularly tankers passing through Hormuz. Iranian and Houthi capabilities extend beyond the vulnerable Strait of Hormuz, but Iran has indicated a desire to maintain proportionate actions. Underwriters must consider numerous risk factors when assessing voyages in the region.


Fighting occurs in the capital city of Khartoum, located 400 miles off the coast. The situation is constantly changing and monitored, but shipping is not currently threatened. No attacks on ships or port infrastructure have been reported. The Sudanese Armed Forces have full control over Port Sudan, and there have been no reported impacts on other terminals.


Vessels involved in rescuing refugees may need to move to different ports than originally intended. This could result in longer voyages and logistical and operational consequences.


Iran and Saudi Arabia are effectively engaged in a proxy conflict. Several cruise missile attacks target vessels in the Bab el Mandeb.

Foreign vessels are currently prohibited from entering Yemeni waters. As Yemen lacks an effective navy, the Egyptian and Saudi navies have been tasked with enforcing this restriction. Vessels intending to enter Hodeidah or Saleef ports must follow specific entry procedures. This includes submitting a completed form to the Yemen Ministry of Transport, now located in Jeddah. While the system is functional, it requires significant effort from all involved parties. There may be cases where the coalition declines authorization for certain vessels.

Since September 2017, CMF Bahrain has overseen the implementation of a Maritime Security Transit Corridor, including the Bab el Mandeb.


At the start of this year, shipowners decided to withdraw their High-Risk Area (HRA) designation. However, the Joint War Committee (JWC) has chosen to maintain its Listed Area as previously. While the JWC Listed Area serves a business purpose and is not identical to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) or the industry's Best Management Practice/High-Risk Area (BMP/HRA) zones, it shares a similar objective of alerting ships to potential dangers. As per the applicable US Executive Order, insurers are required to contact the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) if they are involved in a piracy case.

Pirate activities are sporadic in Eastern Malaysia, with several oil cargo seizures reported.

In the Gulf of Guinea, the primary threat is crew abductions. Since mid-2021, there has been a noticeable decrease in incidents, although attacks still occur. A recent incident occurred off the Congo coast.


Here is some background information on UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) Dubai:

Best Management Practice

The current version of Best Management Practice is BMP5. This version provides details on self-protection measures and includes a request for feedback from vessel masters on the effectiveness of anti-piracy actions taken. 

Maintaining vigilance and reporting to UKMTO and the Maritime Security Centre — Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) are essential, but prudent shipowners should also ensure adequate training and regular practice for their crews to effectively respond to attacks or threats. Ships with low speed and low freeboard are particularly vulnerable factors to consider.


The JWC issues wordings and clauses from time to time which are available for market use. Below are the wordings which allow underwriters to put the piracy peril into the war policy.