The Maritime Advocate–Issue 718



1. ‘Always Accessible’ Means the Vessel Must be Able to Enter and Leave a Berth
2. Thoughts on the Symphony of the Seas
3. Containerville, Bethnal Green
4. The Loss of the El Faro
5. Drewry on P&I Costs
6. People and Places

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1. ‘Always Accessible’ Means the Vessel Must be Able to Enter and Leave a Berth

Alex Davey of Birketts has sent in this note on the Aconcagua Bay, the case of Seatrade Group NV v Hakan Agro DMCC (The “Aconcagua Bay”) QBD (Comm Ct) (Robin Knowles J) [2018] EWHC 654 (Comm) – 26 March 2018. He writes:-

The words ‘reachable on arrival’ and ‘always accessible’ are commonly used in charterparty warranties to transfer to charterers the risk of delay in entering a berth. However, until now, there has been some debate about whether the phrase ‘always accessible’ also transfers to charterers the risk of delay (after completion of cargo operations) in leaving the berth. In London Arbitration 11/97, the Tribunal decided that the warranty did not extend to ‘leaving’ the berth. However, this decision has been treated with some caution by the leading textbooks, and the BIMCO Laytime Definitions (2013) and the Baltic Code (2014) considered that the words ‘always accessible’ mean a vessel must be able to both enter and depart from a berth.

This judgment by Mr Justice Knowles has now provided the judicial authority needed by the market. In allowing owners’ appeal on this point, he has confirmed that for a berth to be ‘always accessible’, the vessel must be able to enter and leave the berth. He considered that the word ‘accessible’ could mean ‘usable’ and that the word ‘always’ was also important.

Read the note here:-

2. Thoughts on the Symphony of the Seas

The lastest example of Wired magazine’s commendable tendedncy to examine fascinating features to be found in transport and shipping is this long piece by Oliver Franklin-Wallis on the world’s largest cruise ship launched in March. Reading this you can understand the debate in the marine insurance world about how mere ships and their owners can share risks with these leviathan monuments to modern leisure and prosperity. For example:-

To put it another way, Symphony of the Seas might be the most ludicrously entertaining luxury hotel in history. It just also happens to float.

Picture a cruise ship. You’re likely imagining crisped-pink pensioners bent double over shuffleboard, cramped cabins, bad food and norovirus. And, once upon a time, you’d have been right. But in the last decade or so, cruise ships have gone from a means of transport to vast floating cities with skydiving simulators (Quantum of the Seas), go-karting (Norwegian Joy), bumper cars (Quantum again) and ice bars (Norwegian Breakaway). Restaurants offer menus designed by Michelin-starred chefs. As a result, the cruise industry is experiencing a golden age, boosted by millennials and explosive growth in tourists from China. More than twenty-five million people set sail on a cruise liner in 2017.

“Most people’s idea of a cruise is ‘Oh God, I’m going to be packed in with five thousand people I don’t want to talk to and getting bored out of my tree,” says Tom Wright, founder of WKK Architects, who has worked on cruise ships and land hotels. “In fact, it’s like going to a hotel that just moves magically over night.” (As one cruiser I met on Symphony’s fan page put it, “We get to see five destinations, and I only have to unpack once.”)

Read the piece in full here:-

3. Containerville, Bethnal Green

We are always receiving news and views from the waterfront in many locations around the world. Hardly a day goes by without something interesting popping up. Here is a piece on a load of converted ISO containers set up upon the more industrial end of London’s Regents Canal. The backers of this idea and the architect may be on to something. The design looks like an answer to London’s lack of affordable work spaces.

4. The Loss of the El Faro

You used to be able to rely on the general media to write badly and wrongly on the shipping world. There was this tendency to identify a car carrier as an oil tanker etc. and generally to see shipowners as evil capitalists cutting corners and grinding the faces of their third world sailors into the plate steel decking. In the event of a casualty the need for a venal culprit seemed ever present. We were lately struck how the piece on the tragic loss of the El Faro by William Langewiesche in Vanity Fair transcends these features and shines through with a deeper understanding of the nature of really bad casualties. For example: read his thoughts here:-

It is unlikely that Davidson [the Master] ever fully understood that he had sailed into the eye wall of Joaquin, but he must have realized by now that he had come much too close. As is usually the case, the catastrophe was unfolding because of a combination of factors that had aligned, which included: Davidson’s caution with the home office; his decision to take a straight-line course; the subtle pressures to stick to the schedule; the systematic failure of the forecasts; the persuasiveness of the B.V.S. graphics; the lack of a functioning anemometer; the failure by some to challenge Davidson’s thinking more vigorously; the initial attribution of the ship’s list entirely to the winds; and finally a certain mental inertia that had overcome all of them. This is the stuff of tragedy that can never be completely explained.

At 5:43 A.M., the seriousness of their predicament suddenly became clear. Up on the bridge the house phone rang. Davidson answered. “Bridge—captain.” He listened for 15 seconds. He said, “We got a prrrroooblem . . .” He hung up and turned to Schultz. “Watch your step. Go down to three-hold. Go down to three-hold and start the pumping right now. Water.”

Students of accidents and catastrrophes can consult this piece with profit:-

5. Drewry on P&I Costs

Martin Dixon of Drewry has sent in this opinion piece on P&I Costs

6. People and Place

Nick Fisher is joining HFW’s London office on 1 May 2018 from Fishers Solicitors, the sole-practitioner boutique he founded in 1993. He was previously an equity partner at Richards Butler (now Reed Smith) and also founded specialist shipping law firm More Fisher Brown.


Independent Lloyd’s broker AFL Insurance Brokers Ltd (AFL) has appointed Jonathan Bines as Chief Commercial Officer. Formerly a Senior Partner, Specialty Property & Casualty at JLT, Bines began his insurance career in 1998 at Marsh reaching Vice President. He departed in 2005 to join Jardine Lloyd Thompson where he held various positions, returning again as a Senior Partner after a four year stint at Integro Insurance Brokers as head of its UK Multinational Practice.


LOC Group has appointed Dr RV Ahilan to the position of joint CEO, alongside Jerome Rutler. . Over a 30-year career in maritime, oil and gas and renewable energy consulting, Ahilan served as Executive Vice President of the Renewables Advisory Division at DNV GL, President of GL Garrad Hassan and MD of GL Noble Denton in Americas and Europe before he joined LOC Group in February 2016.

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.

We found these words on scale of loss and the Costa Concordia in Issue 510 of January 19th, 2012:-

Costa Concordia — Insurance Implications

Marine insurance brokers RFIB issued during the week an edition of their Grapevine Newsletter a note casting light on what may turn out to be the largest insured marine loss in history. There is much to be said for this approach. A few hard facts can go a long way:-

The tragic Costa Concordia casualty has received much coverage in the international press as well as shipping and insurance media. It is inevitable that such an accident, involving sad loss of life from an accident with the potential for a much larger number of deaths, would attract so much interest. The human interest is only heightened by the grounding occurring in a location which is so accessible to the world’s media. However, there has been much speculation in the shipping and insurance press about what might be effects of the casualty upon the insurance market, some of which has been speculation and some just plain wrong. Grapevine’s understanding is that the ship was insured for a combined hull and IV value of just under EUR400 million (approx. USD500 million). There is a panel of 28 insurers involved, many of whom are major players in the international insurance market, of which four insurers have a hull share of 10% or more each. Whether the ship is a Total Loss remains to be seen. The commercial hull market has suffered from over capacity for a number of years and hence has been neutral to soft. Whilst this sector has suffered recently from a number of significant casualties, to which Costa Concordia can now be added, one large claim in itself will not be enough to turn the market from being soft to hard. For that to occur, the excess capacity in the market will have to withdraw, leading to a shortage of capacity and so allowing those insurers still participating in this class to increase premiums.

Therefore, it remains to be seen whether Costa Concordia, as a high profile casualty, will be the tipping point and so encourage some capacity to withdraw from the market or move into other classes of insurance. In itself, the casualty will not result in a hardening hull market. Carnival Cruise Line, the parent of Costa, has an unconventional P&I arrangement in that cover is shared between Standard Club and Steamship Mutual on a proportional basis– effectively each club is underwriting 50% of each ship. Standard is the lead club for Costa Concordia. It is reported that owners have a deductible of USD10 million after which the claim will be in the club’s retention (USD4 million each), the Pool and, if necessary, the International Group’s Excess Reinsurance contract. The quantum of the P&I claim at this stage is even more difficult to predict. However, the IG Excess Reinsurance terms have been announced for 2012/13 and the reinsurers will look at the contract at next renewal on the total record of the IG as a whole rather than just this one casualty. The wider issue will be whether lawmakers will impose further rules and regulations on shipowners, following the casualty, resulting in additional costs. There have been a number of examples of legislators taking action after high profile casualties such as Exxon Valdez, Scandinavia Star, Herald of Free Enterprise and Erika. Further, there have been differing views within the IG about cruise ships, for which there are sub-limits of liability of USD2.06 billion for passenger risks and USD3.06 billion for passenger and crew risks. It is conceivable that the Costa Concordia claim may reopen this debate.

Medical Parable

A Doctor died and was being screened for the destination of his soul’s eternal afterlife. Unfortunately he’d been a bit of a lout and greedy to boot, so he wasn’t quite certain what to expect.

Upon his arrival at the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter greeted him and informed the Doctor that he would be allowed to choose from one of the doors before him, but that because of his greed and misdeeds, he may find the choices rather disturbing.

Upon opening the first door, he saw fire and brimstone of truly Biblical proportions, a horrifying sight, and quickly closed it.

After looking through the second door, he was even more horrified to see various tortured souls ravaged by plague, disease, and other maladies too terrible to mention, while an evil guard stood watch.

Nervously he opened the third door to discover groups of white-coated male physicians, being waited on hand and foot by beautiful young women dressed in little more than nursing caps!

He rushed excitedly back to Saint Peter and said, “I’ll take the third door!”

“Oh, no, I’m afraid that’s not possible,” exclaimed Saint Peter. “That’s NURSES’ Hell!”

[Paul Dixon]

Making a Wish

A guy walking along the beach finds a old bottle, picks it up and opens it. A genie pops out and says, “Thanks for letting me out. For your kindness I will grant you one wish.”

The guys says, “I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I can’t because I’m afraid to fly and ships make me deathly sick. My wish is for you to build a road from here to Hawaii.”

The genie says, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can do that. Just think of all the work involved. Think of the huge pilings we’d need to hold up that highway and how deep they would have to be to reach the bottom of the ocean. And think of all the cement that would be needed. Plus, since it’s such a long span, there would have to be gas stations and rest stops along the way. No, that’s just too much to ask. Impossible.”

The guy says, “Well, there is one thing I’ve always wanted to know. I’d like to be able to understand women. . . what makes them laugh and cry, why they’re so temperamental, why they are so difficult to get along with…you know, what makes them tick.”

The genie thinks a second, then asks, “You want two lanes or four?’

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