The Maritime Advocate-Issue 692



1. Arbitration Agreement and the Federal Court in Guam
2. Arreviderci Combustion Engines in Personal Vehicles?
3. Implications of Autonomous Ships
4. Collision of USS Fitzgerald with ACX Crystal
5. Annals of Japanese-American Trading
6. People and Places

FOB Network News

During the rest of 2017 the Publishers are looking to raise some external finance in order to take our efforts to the next level by supporting more marketing and programming people.

Some FOB Groups already have sponsors – for example JLT (P&I), Bloomfield Law (West Africa Maritime), Chalos (Criminalisation). the Publishers are also looking for sponsors for existing Groups for example Hull & Machinery, Salvage, Piracy, Maritime Singapore/Cyprus/Norway, Superyachts, Surveyors and Major Casualty Investigation.

In addition there is plenty of scope for possible new Groups such as War Risks, Multi-Modal Insurance, Energy Insurance and many geographical areas eg Maritime New Zealand/Germany to name but a few.

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1. Arbitration Agreement and the Federal Court in Guam

Jason Minkin of the Chicago firm of Bates Carey has sent in a link to his recent article which appears in the Tulane Maritime Law Journal entitled “Guam Federal Court Shows Deference to International Arbitration Agreement in P&I Club Rules.” The article discusses a federal court decision enforcing a Norway arbitration clause against the wife of a deceased Jones Act seaman who sought to enforce a judgment against a P&I club in Guam.

Read the article here:-

2. Arreviderci Combustion Engines in Personal Vehicles?

Is it thinkable that the demand for oil is about to fall for good owing to the trend towards electric motor vehicles? This piece by Liam Denning which appeared in Bloomberg on 15th June 2017 certainly supports the notion by looking at how to price oil:-

From the perspective of the durability and engineering simplicity of electric cars, Seth Miller, writing in the NewCo Shift blog on 17th May 2017 is quite blunt. He advises oil companies to cease drilling and to curtail all investments in such things as pipelines and deep wells.

3. Implications of Autonomous Ships

The latest edition of Mainbrace, the Blank Rome maritime newsletter, contains a well drafted piece by Alan M Weigel and Sean T Pribyl which reminds us that the era of robot ships is drawing near:-

Note from Sarah Clayton, Events Manager

HFW is pleased to announce its Marine Insurance Week 2017.

Our week long programme of events is designed for those involved in marine insurance claims and includes a variety of seminars relevant to all lines of marine insurance (including hull, cargo, ports & terminals and liability). Marine Insurance Week 2017 will cover topics including the impact of the Arab Spring on insurers; managing claims in Latin America; detention and confiscation by authorities; polar navigation and the Polar Code; and the impact of supply chain insolvencies in the insurance market.

Presentations will take place at various times throughout each day allowing you the opportunity to choose the sessions you would most like to attend.

4. Collison of USS Fitzgerald with ACX Crystal

The newsminded editors of the Port Technology zine have recently carried this item:-

A defence expert from IHS Jane has reportedly said that the Japanese ship which hit the USS Fitzgerald and killed seven US sailors could have been on autopilot.

An investigation into the deaths has taken place after Saturday’s collision (June 17, 2017) just outside Tokyo Bay, but the US Navy has not explained how the US$1.5 billion ship was struck by a cargo vessel.

A Jane’s Intelligence Review expert said that he suspected from the data that is available that the ACX Crystal was running on autopilot and nobody was on the bridge.

“If anyone was on the bridge, they had no idea how to turn off the autopilot,” Steffan Watkins, an IT security consultant and ship tracking analyst for Janes Intelligence Review told

There have also been different accounts from both sides on the timing of the crash as the cargo ship’s Japanese owners report it happening at 1.30am while the US Navy claim the collision occurred at 2.20am.

Experts have also speculated that the abrupt U-turn of the cargo ship was to examine what it hit.

Nanami Meguro, a spokeswoman for owners NYK Line told CBS News that one reason why the Crystal did not report the accident when it first happened was because it was all hands on deck.

The impact of the collision crushed the starboard side of the Fitzgerald and caused it to list as it sailed into its home port in Yokosuka, Japan on Saturday afternoon.

The sailors who died have been identified as Dakota Kyle Rigsby, Shingo Alexander Douglass, Ngoc T Truong Huynh, Noe Hernandez, Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, Xavier Alec Martin, and Gary Leo Rehm Jr.

Video credit: ABC News

5. Annals of Japanese-American Trading

You can rely on our friend Eiichiro Tokumoto to pick on subjects which shed light upon our commercial times. In this piece, entitled “How did Toyota pioneers overcome US pressure during the trade conflict?” which appears in the Weekly Shincho magazine of May 4-11, 2017, he goes back to the Reagan years and the efforts made by Japanese interests to ensure their trade position in the US was not blighted by protectionism. The interesting story of Kay Sugahara, a Japanese-American who operated a New York-based shipping company, Fairfield-Maxwell Ltd is told. Although the subject goes back to the 1980s, it is timely in the Trump era. We can remember the times very well–cars from Japan for the American market came on Japanese ships, were offloaded by Japanese terminals in LA/Longbeach and loaded onto container stacktrains owned and operated by Japanese shipping lines for distribution around the country. Detroit didn’t get a look-in..

Read the artioc;le in full here:-

6. People and Places

A Chinese translation of the 7th edition of John Schofield’s book Laytime and Demurrage, first published in 2016, is to be published at the end of July/beginning of August.


Van Steenderen Mainport Lawyers – a law firm in Shipping, Transport and Insurance based in Rotterdam – has to announced the promotion of two new partners. In Insurance, Martina Smit will be promoted partner. She has a focus on the liability and insurance area – dry and marine. In Shipping, Charlotte van Steenderen will be promoted partner. She assists clients in dry shipping and transportation work. Her focus lies with Shipbuilding & Conversion, Superyachts and arrest and attachment proceedings.


The Singapore Reinsurers’ Association (SRA) has announced the line-up of its Executive Committee (EXCO) for the 2017/2018 term of office with Mr Marc Haushofer, Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific & Executive Vice President of Validus Reinsurance Company, being re-elected as SRA Chairman at its Executive Committee meeting.

The SRA also announced the appointment of Mr Kenrick Law, Regional CEO & Head P&C Client Management of Allianz SE Reinsurance Branch Asia-Pacific as Deputy Chairman.

From the Avo Archive

The website of this newsletter contains all the editorial material since the inception of the Maritime Advocate as a print based quarterly in 1997 under the founding aegis of John Guy, Chris Hewer and Manfred Arnold. Readers can go to the site and search the database on the home page in its entirety. If you are looking for an old case, an old controversy or you would just like to see how many times you and your firm have featured in our annals feel free to access the archive. It is like this e-zine, free to Readers and we always appreciate the support of advertisers and sponsors.

Searching for references to Japan and the price of oil we turned up this interview which appeared in Back Issue – 13 in- November 2000

In Camera

Georgina Noakes meets Toyoo Mohri, Gard representative in Tokyo

LIKE many Japanese who have spent time working in the west, Toyoo Mohri has an adopted English name – in his case, Tom. He is one of several ex-Sanko executives whose faces are familiar throughout the shipping and commercial markets of Tokyo.

We met for lunch at The Palace Hotel adjacent to the Royal Palace in the heart of Tokyo. I have met Tom before, and know that he is full of fun and not averse to writing the odd piece of poetry. But today we focus on how he got involved in shipping and ended up as Gard’s representative in Japan. Gard set up in Japan in 1991 and it mainly serves the larger Japanese owners and operators, most of whom are registered in Panama or Liberia.

Tom was born on Kyushu Island, just to the south of mainland Japan, where he grew up, until his high-school days. “My childhood dream was to work in shipping. There were two types of training for seamen. In junior school I wanted to go to a high school for seamen, but my teacher and parents advised me to go to university and take a degree in navigation, which I did.”

Tom’s first step in shipping was to go to sea. However, he does not wax lyrical about his adventures on the high seas, and he was very happy to be back on dry land after only just over a year. “I did not enjoy my time on ore carriers going mainly to the Persian Gulf and Australia,” Tom said. “In fact, it was a miserable time and a completely different life-style to what I had seen in movies and read in novels because loading ports were in remote places and discharge times were very short.”

“Fortunately for me, it was the shipping boom of the early seventies, and Sanko was expanding so quickly at that time it decided to bring some of the people ashore from its ships to run the company. It was a big relief for me to be behind a desk, and it was an exciting time to be in the industry,” said Tom. The exchange rate was strong, and all shipping companies were involved in ambitious newbuilding plans, including Sanko.

“We were involved in pioneering new ideas that no other shipping company had done before,” said Tom, such as, “ordering new ships on a large-scale discount basis with new designs that offered the most efficient transportation of cargo yet seen.”

But by the late 1970s, the landscape had changed dramatically. Tom describes what happened. “A severe drop in gross income, with oil prices falling from $35 a barrel, and the quick appreciation of Japanese Yen against foreign currencies forced shipping companies to reschedule their rebuilding programmes. The oil, shipping and freight markets peaked and thereafter went rapidly downhill. Nobody wanted to buy new ships any more, and the mood of the market changed considerably.” For someone who had been involved in the process of Sanko’s newbuilding contracts and control of the fleet, these were testing times for Tom.

Nevertheless, Tom viewed his time at Sanko as one of the most enjoyable of his career from a commercial view point and because it also offered him the opportunity to live in London with his wife and two daughters, now in their twenties but just five and seven at the time. With sushi bars opening everywhere, Japanese food is today enjoying a boom in the UK and abroad. Things were different twenty years ago, however, when the capital had maybe just two or threeJapanese restaurants. “The biggest difference for us in England was the food,” Tom recalls.

“We already knew people in London and I thought I would be able to communicate with the English,” Tom continued. “However, I was wrong. People spoke to me as an English person, not as Tom Mohri, who is Japanese. This led me to ask myself, “Who is Tom Mohri?” My contacts were friendly and eager to develop relationships, they tried hard to understand what Tom Mohri had to say and paid me special attention.”

“I would be visiting a City law office and would just begin to understand what was being said when some cockney slang would be introduced into the conversation and I would say, “Stop! Please speak to me in normal English and speak slowly – I cannot understand you!”

“My wife communicated intimately with our neighbours in Bellsize Park without speaking any English at all – people were so kind and would take my family shopping and invite our children out. I have many happy memories of living in England.”

What advice would Tom give to westerners who are visiting or working in Japan for the first time?

“We have to try to understand one another. The Japanese nature is different. You have to understand our mind. We have a different corporate system, especially in shipping. In Europe or the States, a company is controlled by an owner. In Japan a company is controlled by a group of seniors. Therefore, if foreigners want a response or an immediate financial return from a Japanese company, this is difficult for us to understand. We are slower at making decisions, and the majority of the board is always required.

“For example, in a sale and purchase deal, it can sometimes seem to us that a foreign broker requires a decision ‘tomorrow at opening time’ – that is the western way. So my advice is to take it slowly. If a broker were to read and understand the Japanese way of thinking, then they will probably do very good business here.”

“Traditionally, Japanese businessmen like agreeing a contract. But when circumstances change and a foreign party wants to change the contract, they must remember that Japanese people always want to keep to the contract. In Japan, a contract is a contract, and it is not easily broken. Some westerners appreciate this attitude – and some do not”

When not dealing with the usual workload of P&I business for Gard, Tom can be found sailing two or three times a month on his 34ft cruiser, which he co-owns with nine friends. “I have a happy time at sea now,” Tom muses. “Maybe this is some recovery for me from my long days at spent on the tankers.”

Canine Wisdom

*When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

*Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

*Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

*When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.

*Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

*Take naps and stretch before rising.

*Run, romp, and play daily.

*Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

*On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

*On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

*When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

*No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout… run right back and make friends.

*Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

*Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

*Be loyal.

*Never pretend to be something you’re not.

*If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

*And MOST of all… When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently

Voice of Experience

During a trial, in a small Missouri town, the local prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand. She was sworn in, asked if she would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, on the Bible, so help her God.

The witness was a proper well-dressed elderly lady, a Grandmotherly type, well spoken and poised.

The prosecuting attorney approached the woman and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?'”

She responded, “Why, yes I do know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy and frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, cheat on your wife, manipulate people and talk badly about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the sense to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper-pushing shyster.” “Yes, I know you quite well.”

The lawyer was stunned. He couldn’t even think for a few minutes. Then, slowly backed away, fearing the looks on the judge and jurors’ faces, not to mention the court reporter who documented every word. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney? ”

She again replied, “Why, yes, I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He’s lazy, bigoted, has a bad drinking problem. The man can’t build or keep a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. Yes, I know him.”

The defense attorney almost fainted and was seen slipping downward in his chair, looking at the floor. Laughter mixed with gasps, thundered throughout the courtroom and the audience was on the verge of chaos.

At this point, the judge brought the courtroom to silence, called both counselors to the bench, and in a very quiet voice said, “If either of you two asks her if she knows me, you’re going to jail.”

[Paul Dixon]