Underwriters have responded to the fall in piracy attacks by cutting rates to retain business in what has become an increasingly competitive marine kidnap and ransom (K&R) market.

Figures from the latest report by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau show piracy fell to a five-year low in 2012, with 297 vessels attacked compared with 439 in 2011.

In the trouble spots of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, 75 ships were subjected to attacks in 2012, down from 237 the year before. Only 14 vessels actually succumbed to hijack, half the number taken in 2011....

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