Issue 171


1. Conference precedent

A RECENT ruling from the Court of Appeal in England has confirmed that liner conferences are not necessarily responsible for the unwise decisions of competitors. The judgement sets a significant precedent for future competition cases, say Davies Arnold Davies, which successfully defended Borchard Lines and other members of a liner conference against allegations of unfair competition. (Arkin v Borchard Lines & Others)

The case was brought by the owners of BCL Shipping Line, who claimed that the conference members had misused their dominant position in the marketplace by virtue of their acting as a conference.

The judge ruled that the conference had not abused its dominant position, and had not undertaken predatory pricing or any other illegal action. He accepted that the conference members’ own actions had involved BCL in “a completely hopeless loss-making downward spiral”. But the protection afforded by the EC Block Exemption from competition rules that allowed the liner conference to exist did not cause the losses suffered. The judgement was confirmed on appeal.

In giving judgement, Philips MR stated, “You surely cannot charge suicide prices and then charge the person committing the unlawful conduct with those extra losses.”

2. Maritime lien extinguished

THE US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled that a maritime lien is extinguished when a vessel sinks.

The events leading to the dispute began when a shiprepairer performed work on a fishing vessel. Shortly thereafter, the vessel sank, which doesn’t say much for the repairs.

The owner bought another fishing vessel and transferred the fishing permits and fishing history of the old vessel to the second vessel. The purchase of the second vessel was financed by a loan secured by a preferred ship mortgage. When the bank foreclosed on the second vessel for non-payment, the shiprepairer intervened, asserting a prior lien on the second vessel based on its repairs of the first vessel.

The court held that maritime liens are limited to the specific vessel to which the services have been provided. (PNC Bank Delaware v ‘Miss Laura’).

3. In and out

LAST week, the publisher of the International Directory of Marine Law telephoned the offices of a leading maritime law firm with an invitation to place an advertisement. The ad was to include the law firm’s website and email (not included in the ordinary entries), for a price of £195. The firm declined, politely.

A few days later, the publisher wrote to the law firm, explaining, “Dear colleague, you currently have a free listing for your firm in The International Directory of Marine Law 2004. Unfortunately, due to huge demand in your country’s section, where the number of paying entries has increased considerably, we are unable to list your firm’s details in the new 2005 edition and will be removing them from our maritime law database.

“To still benefit from this ongoing exposure that we have allowed you to have over the last seven years, I recommend that you reserve a basic listing which will incur a nominal production fee of £195. This will also include an online listing, with a hyperlink to your firm’s website.

“If I do not hear from you by September 30, 2004, regrettably your firm will be removed from the directory, and your details will be deleted from our entire maritime law database.”

An editorial note to the directory states, “All the information contained in the … directory …has been given voluntarily by the companies listed…”

4. Venezuela collision law

NEW collision rules have been incorporated into the Venezuelan Law on Maritime Commerce.

Sabatino Pizzolante reports, “The old rules relating to collision have been repealed and replaced by set of comprehensive provisions based on the 1910 Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law with respect to Collisions between Vessels. Under the new law, collision is defined as “violent material contact between two or more vessels, navigating or capable of navigating …”

5. Cambridge Academy seminars

THE Cambridge Academy of Transport is running two seminars in London in October. The first, Insurance in Shipping, is being held at The Hilton London Paddington Hotel from October 13-15. It will be overseen by David Martin-Clark, and will look at marine insurance, general and particular average, and casualties and claims.

The second seminar is Bills of Lading & Related Cargo Claims, to be held at the same venue from October 18-20. It deals with, among other things, the functions and problems of the bill of lading, package limitation, the incorporation of charter party terms into bills of lading, risk allocation, dry cargo claims and bill of lading frauds.

6. Ship arrest

THE tenth annual Ship Arrest seminar is to be held at the De Vere Cavendish St James’s Hotel in London from November 29-30.

Centre-stage this year are the arrest procedures in Malta, Russia, the US, Turkey, France, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China and Hong Kong. Delegates will also get to hear what P&I clubs think about ship arrest, and the role of port state control.

7. People & Places

MARY Thomson writes, “I am now at a new firm just eighteen months after you reported that I had joined the Hong Kong office of Denton Wilde Sapte who, you may have heard, have recently closed their four Asian offices.

“I am now a partner at the Hong Kong office of Kennedys, an insurance-driven UK international law firm. Looking forward to a new and long lease of life in the practice of insurance, transport and banking litigation.”

JAMES P David has moved from DLA in Singapore to establish a dedicated shipping department at Anad & Noraini in Kuala Lumpur. He says, “After working in Singapore and London for ten years (with Clyde & Co previously), it’s a pleasure to be back in the jurisdiction of my birth

Art for art’s sake

IT comes as no real surprise to hear that a cleaner at the Tate Britain last week disposed of a supposedly valuable work of art because she thought it was a load of rubbish. The piece in question – cardboard and paper wrapped in a see-through bin-liner – was actually an exhibit by an avante-garde German artist, who has been offered compensation by the Tate.

One of your editor’s best friends could have been a famous artist if things had turned out differently. He became a leading maritime arbitrator instead, and these days he paints word-pictures that everybody can understand. But he once won a prestigious art prize for tearing a sheet out of the local Yellow Pages, sticking it onto a piece of canvas, and daubing some paint around the edges. He could paint alright. He just ran out of ideas, and time.

Come to think of it, he isn’t entirely non-German himself.

Bridging the gap

MORE about bridges this week. In the last issue we explored the unlikely connection between the fear of bridges and the theft of Edvard Munch’s painting, ‘The Scream’. Now comes news that a famous iron bridge in the Bosnian city of Mostar has been stolen. Scrap-metal dealers apparently sold the forty-foot bridge for £90, after dismantling it without anybody noticing. It happens.

Could it be that we have stumbled upon the start of an international bridge-related crime ring? Here in the maritime advocate online offices in Three Bridges Road, we may be more at risk than most.

Say cheese

SARAH McGurk, of Calgary, in Canada, writes, “It has been a while since I’ve felt compelled to reply to this most excellent weekly newsletter”. (Your editor had decided to take this as a compliment).

Sarah continues, “Your cheese poem (last week) has driven me to unprecedented creativity and I’d like to add my own, extremely humble offering”.

There is nothing humble about Sarah’s verse. Judge for yourself.


Feta Complis

Dessert wines and cheeses, I always feel
Are perfect companions to a gluttonous meal.

Care must be taken when choosing the pairs
If you don’t want to risk guests’ questioning stares.

Take as your guide the matrimonial cue,
Something old, something new, and perhaps something blue

The ‘old’ can only be a smooth, mature port
Which should, it is felt, be drunk with Roquefort.

The ‘new’ could be ice wine, Muscat or Sauternes
With a rich creamy brie to allay your concerns.

As far as what counts towards something ‘blue’,
Stilton suffices…with Tokaji Aszu.

Something well-rounded is a Gouda dea
But don’t mix with Riesling, the effect is quite queer.

Muscat should stay well away from Gruyere,
And please don’t be tempted to skip Camembert!

My final note of warning to those in a jam,
Frankly, Madeira, don’t give Edam.

(Sarah McGurk)

Message line

ANDREW Trasler writes, ‘Thanks very much for last week’s maritime advocate online. I do appreciate your humorous headlines and would like to nominate one of your own to take a worthy place in your pantheon:

‘Messenger takes chair’ is really quite good. I always wondered where chairs went to, and what all those messengers really do.”

(Your editor had always thought that messengers, like piano players, were routinely shot).

Proof positive

DOUG Barrow, bunker guru from Maxcom (UK), writes in response to last week’s item about proof reading. He says, “Dear editor, your knowledge of English is much greater than mine.”

He is right.

By gum

A WOMAN went to her local dentist for a check-up. As she sat in the chair, looking up at the dentist, she noticed a faint resemblance to an old classmate of hers, from school. She could hardly believe that the wrinkled face, heavy jowls and thin, grey hair belonged to somebody who might have been at school with her, but felt compelled to ask, nevertheless, “Did you go to the local high school?”

“Yes,” replied the dentist.

“What year?” asked the woman.

“1963,” replied the dentist.

“You were in my class,” said the woman.

“Really?” said the dentist. “What did you teach?”

(BBC Radio Five Live)

Anniversaries of the Week

TEMPUS fugit. It is 242 years since the Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich, at five o’clock. It is a thousand years since jousting was legalised, and fewer than two-hundred years since British troops captured Washington DC and set fire to George Madison. It seems like only yesterday.

Best Weather Letter of the Week

I much preferred last year’s global warming to this year’s global warming.
(Letters to the Editor, The Times, London)

Best Judge Name of the Week

Justice Twaddle, Manitoba Court of Appeal

Acronym of the Week

ACRONYM – A Completely Random Order Never Yields Meaning

Definition of the Week

Airline magazine. A publication a little like a cookbook, but all the recipes are for disasters.

(The Devil’s IT Dictionary)

Best (and Only) Palindromic No. 1 by Palindromic Band of the Week

SOS, by Abba

Best Description of Text-Speak of the Week

A language without vowels: it’s never done the Welsh any harm. (Jeremy Clarkson)

Olympic Games Quote of the Week

Is it possible that Pheidippides, the first marathon runner, who is reputed to have died afterwards, faked his death so as to avoid an elixir test? (Letters to the Editor, The Times, London)

Olympic City of the Week


Olympic Nationality of the Week


Olympic Games Noun-as-a-Verb of the Week

And they’ve podiumed, against all the odds.

(BBC radio)

Best Open Registry Ad Copy of the Week

“Best Open registry. Cambodia Flag Administration. Cambodia’s Clean-Up Progress under Favourable Way for Goal. Now Invited to New Ship registry of Cambodia.
Enjoy our ISROC’s Immediate Services with Reasonable Cost. Benefits of Cambodia’s Privilege of Most Favoured Nation Awaiting You.” (International Ship Registry of Cambodia).

Best Anniversary of Birth of Most Inappropriately Named Person of the Week

Actress Tuesday Weld, born on August 27, 1943. (FRIDAY, August 27, 1943.

Job Advertisement of the Week

Poof breeder required

(Submitted by Andy Smith, Editor, International Tug & Salvage)

Quote of the Week

“I calculate that I have eaten at least 7,000 tons of digestive biscuits in my time solely because the prospect of eating a digestive biscuit seemed to me more inviting than sitting down at my typewriter” (Bernard Levin)