Issue 180


1. Singapore arbitration

SHIPPING interests will have a new potential venue for the resolution of disputes when Singapore launches a maritime arbitration centre next week. The Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA) will provide for the “speedy and reliable” resolution of shipping disputes for charterers and other parties within the region.

On November 8, the day on which the new arbitration facility opens for business, Patrick O’Donovan and Manfred Arnold, leading arbitrators from London and New York respectively, will address the SCMA on current issues and procedural matters,

The launch of the SCMA has been made possible as a result of the efforts of a working group on maritime arbitration established under the auspices of the Singapore Maritime Foundation, details of which organisation can be accessed at:

2. Protection for bunker buyers

GLOBAL fuel testing company Lintec Testing Services is to offer bunker buyers an extra layer of protection by carrying out a routine forensic analysis on their fuels which will detect waste chemicals and unusual high levels of naturally occurring chemicals.

“Until now fuel testers have tested for the set parameters of ISO 8217,” says John Dixon, managing director of Lintec. “But it has been considered too expensive and time-consuming to test for every possible contaminant. We can provide bunker buyers with the certainty that the fuel they purchase meets ISO 8217 in all its requirements, including checking for waste contaminant. It’s a new service, with a small cost, but we believe it is in line with our sensible and cost-effective approach to fuel testing. We don’t believe in scaring our customers, we only want to alert them when there is a real problem.”

3. Don’t drop the pilot

IN its latest ‘StopLoss Bulletin’, the London P&I Club has highlighted the need for care to provide ships’ crew and visitors with safe passageways as they go about their business, to avoid potentially significant personal injury claims.

The club relates details of a claim made by a Mississippi river pilot who slipped while leaving a club member’s bulk carrier, which had just completed loading a cargo of grain. The pilot claimed damages of over $2m. He alleged that a combination of humid/dewy weather, compounded by earlier rainfall, as well as grain dust blown about the ship’s deck during loading, had created the slippery deck conditions in which he fell and injured his shoulder. He also alleged a failing on the part of the crew to clear a grain-free path between the ship’s accommodation block and the pilot ladder.

P&I attorneys reported that the shipowner had a number of defence arguments, especially since it seemed clear that it was impossible to avoid grain dust on deck during loading. It would also have been against the law for the crew to have washed the grain dust from the deck during passage down the Mississippi.

The club says, “These defences were reflected in the favourable settlement that it was possible to negotiate on the shipowner’s behalf. But the case nevertheless illustrates the importance of precautions to provide visitors and crew with safe, non-slip passageways as they go about their business.”

4. Mediation works

IF you’re moving $1.4m-worth of video equipment that gets damaged in transit, what do you do? The obvious answer is to claim on the insurance, but problems can arise when insurers don’t read the fine print and get it wrong.

The London-based ACI dispute resolution service tells us that the claimant insurers in this case initially dealt with the claim on the probably incorrect assumption that it fell under the insured’s special risks property policy. Later, the same insurer realised that the claim should not have been made under the insured’s special risks property policy, but under the marine policy, of which it wrote only 50 per cent. So it claimed half the cost of the settlement from its co-insurer. The co-insurer disagreed.

Both insurers agreed to mediate the dispute. While the parties didn’t come to an agreement on the day of the mediation, follow-up by the mediator meant that, six weeks later, the parties reached a settlement, avoided further litigation costs, and preserved their working relationship.

5. CEDR revises mediation

CEDR (the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) has revised its definition of mediation to bring it more into line with modern practice in commercial ADR. The previous definition, which read, “Mediation is a voluntary, non-binding, private dispute resolution process in which a neutral person helps the parties try to reach a negotiated settlement,” has been revised to read, “Mediation is a flexible process conducted confidentially in which a neutral person actively assists parties in working towards a negotiated agreement of a dispute or difference, with the parties in ultimate control of the decision to settle and the terms of resolution.”

According to CEDR, the new definition seeks to emphasise the idea that while mediation is a process with a powerful format, it is nevertheless fundamentally flexible. Furthermore, it highlights the fact that mediation is a safe environment where parties can talk freely and experiment with ideas, and where they are ultimately in control of the process. It is also designed to stress that mediators should be proactive in helping parties to find solutions but that the parties have ownership of the outcome.
6. Liberal attitude

CHINA and Hong Kong have reached agreement to further liberalise trade between the two regions. The agreement offers additional benefits to Hong Kong manufacturers and service providers in terms of better market access into China. It provides for the entry of a wider range of Hong Kong goods into China on a duty-free basis, and for a number of other concessions in a variety of sectors, including freight forwarding, road transportation and maritime transportation.

Among other things, wholly owned foreign enterprises are now permitted to provide international ship agency services to vessels owned or operated by their parent company, and to provide cargo handling services.

For a full summary of the agreement, by Baker & Mackenzie, go to the International Law Office website at:

7. People & Places

DANIELLE J Grucci Butler has joined the admiralty law firm of Hill, Betts and Nash in Miami. She handles both litigation and transactional matters for the pleasure yachting community. Her telephone number is 786-425-9900.


MARCO Cocciante is to join specialist shipping law firm E G Arghyrakis & Co in London. He worked as an inhouse logistics manager and export manager in South Africa and London before qualifying as a solicitor last year.

WILL Cecil has been appointed a partner of the dispute resolution group at maritime and offshore legal specialist Curtis Davis Garrard. He handles contentious marine construction matters. Curtis Davis Garrard is very active in dispute work in the offshore oil and gas sector, and last year was instructed by Sembawang Shipyard of Singapore to replace Norton Rose in the handling of the ‘Solitaire’ arbitration, the largest and longest running London maritime arbitration of its kind.

8. Fact and fiction

LAST week’s item about people and things which might or might not exist brought a hearty response from readers. Credible cases have been advanced for the existence of unicorns, Walter Mitty, the Scarlet Pimpernel, and Croydon.

But it would be wrong to leave the subject without mentioning Horace Rumpole, whose existence or otherwise may very well be debated by future generations. The most recent Rumpole book is, in your editor’s opinion, the best ever. In it, we discover how Rumpole first met She Who Must Be Obeyed, and we learn at last the truth about the Penge bungalow murders. This was the case on which Rumpole built his legal and literary career. He won it, without a leader. It’s true.

Sentencing guidelines

YOUR editor once had the pleasure of listening to an evening of anecdotes, poetry and music in the company of John Mortimer, the author and barrister who created Rumpole. Especially enjoyable was the story of a farmer who was sentenced to six months in prison for chopping down a yew tree. In the cells at the Old Bailey, a fellow prisoner asked the farmer what he was doing there.

“I got six months for chopping down a yew tree,” replied the farmer. “How about you?”

“Twelve years for rape,” replied the wretched cellmate.

“Crikey,” said the farmer, “there must have been ACRES of it.”

Word watch

YOUR editor was once asked by a very small child to explain the meaning of the word ‘jejune’, whereupon a lively discussion ensued. They don’t make words like ‘jejune’ any more.

They do, however, make words like ‘blunge’, which your editor came upon for the first time the other day. It means ‘to mix with water’ and is apparently a cross between blend and plunge. Marvellous.

Your editor is less enthusiastic, however, about another word he met with this week for the first time. If there is a reader out there who knows the meaning of ‘albedo’, call your doctor and tell him to come and get you right away. Tell him to come just as he is. There is no time to lose.

It is difficult to imagine why there should be such a word as ‘albedo’. Yet it is no ordinary word. It has two meanings. It can mean the fraction of incident electromagnetic radiation reflected by a surface, especially of a celestial body. And it can mean the spongy white tissue on the inside of an orange, or other citrus fruit. (Oranges are not the only citrus fruit).

There. Your editor has rubbed by for over half a century on radiation and pith, but it is never too late to learn.

Pause for thought

WHEN a cartoonist asked Harold Ross, legendary editor of ‘The New Yorker’ magazine, why he wouldn’t use his drawings but was happy to use those of “a fifth-rate cartoonist like James Thurber”, Ross replied, “THIRD rate, you mean.”

Ross had a way with words. So did Thurber. As Lynne Truss recalls in her best-selling book, ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves’, Thurber, when asked by a New Yorker contributor why he insisted on putting a comma in the sentence, “After dinner, the men went into the living room”, answered, “This particular comma was Ross’s way of giving the men time to push back their chairs and stand up”.

Much has been said about the humble comma, and nothing more telling than Oscar Wilde’s comment that, “I have spent most of the day putting in a comma, and the rest of the day taking it out.”

There are those who have no idea where to put commas. Others simply do not use them at all. Peter Carey, for example, won the Booker Prize in 2000 for his ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’, a 350-page book which did not contain a single comma. Peter Carey is Australian.

When US law firms Holland & Knight and Haight, Gardner were involved in merger talks in 1999, it was reported that half a day was spent discussing whether there should be a comma after Haight Gardner and before Holland & Knight. (The ampersand remained).

Your editor knew the two firms would merge because he spoke to somebody in the know. Now THERE’S a sentence that is crying out for a comma.

Not so bonny

READERS may be wondering why, in last week’s maritime advocate online, we included the website address of Ince & Co in a piece about Clyde & Co’s London cocktail party at the Lloyd’s building. If you work it out, please let us know.


Goodbye John Peel

John Peel,
You are gone.

You were only 65,
Which is one year fewer
Than the Beatles sung of
On a record you played more than once.

Thank you for the music, John,
(Or most of it anyway).
You played it well,
Unlike the mandolin on Maggie May.

You were only pretending.
I wish you still were.

Supermarket Notice of the Week

“No flour or eggs will be sold to any person apparently under 16 years of age on 30 and 31 October. By order of Hampshire Constabulary.” (Tesco)

Letter of the Week

IT is no longer deemed appropriate to refer to visitors to the House of Commons as ‘strangers’. The Commons Modernisation Committee wants to replace the term with ‘Members of the Public’. For brevity, why not shorten this to MPs? That would avoid unnecessary confusion.

(The Times, London)

Best Physical Description of the Week

FRANKLIN Pierce Adams took Harold Ross tobogganing one afternoon in the Twenties, somewhere in Connecticut. A few days after that, at the Algonquin Round Table, someone asked, “What does Ross look like tobogganing?”

“Well,” said Frank, “you know what he looks like NOT tobogganing.”

(‘The Years With Ross’, James Thurber)

Quote of the Week

If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning. (Catherine Aird)

Criminal of the Week

A MAN was reportedly arrested recently after stealing two mobile phones from a UK high street retailer. He explained to the police that one of the phones was for himself, while the other was a present for his probation officer.

(‘The News Quiz’, BBC Radio 4)

Best Question-and-Answer Sessions of the Week

Q: The name of which legendary Irish rock band consists of just one letter and one numeral?

A: B

Q: Which fish, which can grow up to ten feet in length, has been known to attack humans?

A: Bass

Q: Which sauce, beginning with ‘L’, is the name given to the gravy on traditional pie and mash?

A: Linguini

Q: Which ‘D’ is the highest rank in British nobility?

A: Dean

Q: Chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon or pastry are known as pigs in WHAT?

A: Ear

Q: What ‘L’ is the name given to the milk found in rubber trees?

A: Lava

Q: Which ‘Cecil’ became prime minister of South Africa’s Cape Colony in the 19th century?

A: Parkinson

Q: Richard Bach’s famous novel is called Jonathan Livingston WHAT?

A: Grey

Q: The name of the Russian-born author of the celebrated novel ‘Lolita’ is Vladimir WHO?

A: Tolstoy

(‘The Weakest Link’, BBC TV)