The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is negotiating a war risk bonus for ship crew sailing to east Mediterranean following heightened hostility between Lebanon and Israel, an official from ICS in London said.

Increased pay for ship crew could raise freight rates for all merchant vessels plying the eastern Mediterranean routes, but this would affect only a small portion of the ships sailing in that area, the ICS official said.

The official declined to comment on the value of the proposed bonus.

ICS is the international trade association for merchant ship operators, and it represents the collective views of international industry from different nations, sectors and trades.

Last week, marine insurers in London raised war risk premiums for merchant ships visiting Lebanese and Israeli ports because of the intensifying conflict and naval blockades of Lebanese ports.

“The negotiations with the shipowners are ongoing. It will depend on the insurance underwriters,” the official said.

The bonus clause will kick in if the insurance underwriters classify that shipping area as a war zone, he said.

“Lloyd’s insurance has not classified that area as a war zone yet. There is a difference between war risk and a war zone,” he clarified.

Both Lebanon and Israel are on the Lloyd’s market Joint War Committee list of risky areas for merchant shipping that are prone to war. (Reuters)