At long last rates in the marine hull market are set to rise, according to senior Lloyd's underwriters.

A chief underwriter at one of the leading marine syndicates said that the loss of the Limberg, Diamond Princess and Prestige, which is due to be surveyed by a French submarine this week off the coast of north-west Spain, is starting to stiffen rates.

The underwriter predicted that market rates would rise by 20%-25% in 2003. The last time the marine hull market made a profit was 1996.