Business & Economy

Guyana asks UK for help in getting off insurer’s list of maritime risk zones

San Juan, Dec 20 (EFE).- The president of Guyana, Irfaan Ali, asked the United Kingdom, its former colonial power, for help after the insurance company Lloyd’s Market Association included the country in its list of riskiest shipping zones due to the crisis with Venezuela.

“Together, we will have to speak to Lloyd’s so that they can understand the nuances, the reality that exists in Guyana and in relation to the controversy,” the president said, according to local media reports on Wednesday.

On Monday, the Joint War Committee of the Lloyd’s Market Association added Guyana to its list of “Hull War, Piracy, Terrorism and Related Perils,” specifying that the warning applies only to vessels visiting offshore installations in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone, outside the country’s “territorial waters.”

Appearing on the list means that war-risk premiums may be charged to vessels in the area, which means that the cost of shipping crude oil from Exxon Mobil-operated offshore facilities may increase, but generally premiums tend to rise sharply only after conflict breaks out.

“The Lloyd’s analysis is pandering to what people want: create instability and insecurity,” the president denounced.In light of this, Ali spoke with the British high commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller, on the importance of approaching the company to review this assessment.

“I think you can help us to reverse that decision in relation to Lloyd’s assessment of our waterways and increased cost of insurance it can bring to us,” he added.

On the same day the insurer published the updated list, the British Secretary of State for the Americas and the Caribbean, David Rutley, expressed his “unequivocal” support for Guyana in its dispute with Venezuela, which has strongly criticized the alleged interference of the United Kingdom.

On the same day, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro reaffirmed his intention to “fully recover” the Essequibo, an area of almost 160,000 square kilometers disputed with Guyana for over two centuries.

The Venezuelan government also reported on Monday the activation of business units for oil exploration in the Essequibo, which Guyana has administered as its own since 1966.

The territorial waters of this region contain large reserves of oil and natural gas, mostly concentrated in the Stabroek block, discovered by ExxonMobil in 2015.

These reserves, estimated at around 11 billion barrels of oil, have made Guyana the country with the highest economic growth in the world (57.8% in 2022).

The conflict escalated after Venezuela, in a unilateral referendum on Dec. 3, approved the annexation of the disputed territory and launched an “action plan” that includes the establishment of a military division near the area, without incursions for the time being.

However, Venezuela and Guyana agreed last Thursday not to threaten each other or use force “under any circumstances,” including those “arising from any existing controversy between the two states,” such as the dispute over the Essequibo. EFE


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