The Maritime Advocate–Issue 748



1 COVID-19 Emerging Themes
2 Are you worried about Coronavirus and Force Majeure with cancellations?
3 “Best Management Practice” – The English High Court considers obligations on a Master
4 Plan your passage carefully!
5 The Poseidon Principles
6 Pilot ladder accidents
7 Lost crane load during cargo operations
8 People, Places and Events

Finally, a little wisdom and a dash of humour.

1. COVID-19 Emerging Themes

A plethora of information on the pandemic is appearing by the hour. We won’t attempt to cover it all here, however Reed Smith’s Sally-Ann Underhill, Nick Austin and Vassilis Mavrakis have compiled a helpful update of emerging themes covering a variety of topics from crew welfare to “proofing” your charterparty contracts.



And Robert Marcus of Jurit LLP adds to the discourse by asking: Are you worried about Coronavirus and Force Majeure with cancellations?

A critical legal issue when considering the application of the force majeure provisions is …is the cause of delay contagious disease, or is it subsequent circumstances as society responds such as supervening legislation passed by national legislatures and public health authorities intended to limit the economic impact of the virus, and which (if either) of these is within the scope of the clause?



Stephen Askins, Partner at Tatham & Co reports on: “Best Management Practice” – The English High Court Considers obligations on a Master.

On 5th July 2011, the laden tanker Brillante Virtuoso was off the coast of Yemen drifting in darkness in some of the most dangerous waters of the world. Shortly before midnight, it was boarded by armed men who put in motion a chain of events that would see the owner condemned by the High Court in London as a co-conspirator in a plan to render the vessel a total loss.

The Court was satisfied that the armed men who were seemingly “invited” on board and who the owners said were Somalian pirates disguised as Yemeni coastguard officers, were part of an elaborate scheme to defraud the vessel’s insurers. However, as part of its deliberations the Court considered the legal ramifications of the master’s alleged failings to follow Best Management Practice (“BMP”).

This is the first time that the industry guidelines have been reviewed by the Court. The judgment provides useful guidance for Company Security Officers and all Masters who operate in high risk areas.



Watson Farley & Williams are one of several firms to issue briefings on the CMA CGM Libra General Average case: Plan Your Passage Carefully!

“On departure, in what most would have considered an error in navigation, the vessel ran aground and required assistance to be refloated.” In a significant decision published yesterday, the English Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the lower court that an inadequate passage plan that caused a vessel’s grounding rendered the vessel unseaworthy.

Our latest briefing provides an analysis of the decision in The CMA CGM Libra, which was given by an experienced maritime bench made up of Lord Justices Flaux, Haddon-Cave and Males, emphasising the importance of ensuring that ship passage plans are fit for purpose.



Marie-Anne Moussalli and Ioanna Tsekoura of Clyde & Co. present an up to date overview of: The Poseidon Principles.

In April 2018, the International Maritime Organisation (the “IMO”), took the unprecedented step of committing the shipping industry to a long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, and to phase them out as soon as possible this century. Known as “IMO 2050”, the strategy aims to reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, whilst pursuing efforts to phase them out entirely by 2100.



Steve Cameron of CMR Consultants highlights the safety issues surrounding pilot boarding ladder arrangements: The dangers pilots face when boarding

For a maritime pilot, embarking and disembarking a ship remains a dangerous task and is an operation that has changed little over the years. The death of Captain Dennis Sherwood, a 35-year veteran pilot, killed after he fell while boarding the US- flagged Maersk Kensington as she arrived at New York in December, 2019, is a sad reminder of the dangers that still exist, despite the plethora of regulations and their associated audits.





Ian Shields of CHIRP Maritime sets out the circumstances leading to what could have been a fatal accident: Lost crane load during cargo operations

The vessel involved was a small Lift On / Lift Off general cargo vessel engaged on a regular container freight service. On arrival the ship had been unloaded of the containers and ‘flats’ (see photo below) destined for the port and back loading was in progress. The lower level of the hold had been ‘boxed out’ with containers leaving no gaps, and the loading of flats had begun. As normal, the flats were being placed directly on top of the containers.

Comment: LoLo cargo operations are considered high intensity cargo handling and are being replaced by RoRo operations in some ports and routes. However, that option is not always suitable. Small vessels going to small ports will still be using LoLo for many years to come. This accident could have been avoided if just one of the many layers of risk had been rectified…



UK P&I Club will host a series of live training webinars aimed at both members and the wider maritime industry, with the first webinar, addressing the practical and legal issues of bunker fuel quality, taking place on Thursday 2 April at 9am BST (4pm Singapore). The webinars are designed to keep marine professionals up to date with training requirements, and informed on evolving industry issues, in an environment where many events and meetings have been postponed or cancelled.


9. People and Places

Clyde & Co has announced the appointment of Melanie Mooney as a partner in its global insurance practice to further enhance its casualty group and the firm’s offering to clients in credit hire defence. Melanie joins from Keoghs where she was Credit Hire Strategy Director. She has taken seven cases to the Court of Appeal, successfully winning cases that have shaped both the insurance industry and legal practice, including Singh v Yaqubi, Opoku v Tintas and McBride v UKI.

The London P&I Club has announced two promotions in Asia. Frank He and Deborah Yu have been appointed respectively General Manager and Deputy General Manager of their Hong Kong office. Frank and Deborah will oversee a team that has grown to 16 people, reflecting the increase in the Club’s business drawn from the region.

Ince & Co’s Michelle Walsh, Head of Compliance, Risk & Regtech at Ince’s Gibraltar office has been appointed by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) as a Committee Member of the newly formed National Advisory Council (NAC) for Gibraltar.

Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings:

With COVID-19 news updates appearing hourly, I pondered what more to say about the pesky pandemic. And came across Bill Gates’ thoughts on the subject:

What is the Corona/ Covid-19 Virus Really Teaching us?

I’m a strong believer that there is a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens, whether that is what we perceive as being good or being bad.

As I meditate upon this, I want to share with you what I feel the Corona/ Covid-19 virus is really doing to us:

1) It is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we are. This disease treats us all equally, perhaps we should to. If you don’t believe me, just ask Tom Hanks.

2) It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another. It is reminding us that the false borders that we have put up have little value as this virus does not need a passport. It is reminding us, by oppressing us for a short time, of those in this world whose whole life is spent in oppression.

3) It is reminding us of how precious our health is and how we have moved to neglect it through eating nutrient poor manufactured food and drinking water that is contaminated with chemicals upon chemicals. If we don’t look after our health, we will, of course, get sick.


And now for a dash of humour:

There is a story about a monastery in Greece perched high on a cliff several hundred feet in the air.

The only way to reach the monastery was to be suspended in a basket which was pulled to the top by several monks who pulled and tugged with all their strength.

The ride up the steep cliff in that basket was terrifying. One tourist got exceedingly nervous about half-way up as he noticed that the rope by which he was suspended was old and frayed.

With a trembling voice he asked the monk who was riding with him in the basket how often they changed the rope. The monk thought for a moment and answered brusquely, “Obviously, whenever it breaks!””

And a wee Scottish ode to cheer ye all up
Tae a virus

Twa months ago, we didna ken,
yer name or ocht aboot ye
But lots of things have changed since then,
I really must salute ye

Yer spreading rate is quite intense,
yer feeding like a gannet
Disruption caused,
is so immense,
ye’ve shaken oor wee planet.

Corona used tae be a beer,
they garnished it wae limes
But noo it’s filled us awe wae fear
These days, are scary times.

Nae shakin hawns, or peckin lips,
it’s whit they awe advise
But scrub them weel, richt tae the tips,
that’s how we’ll awe survive

Just stay inside, the hoose, ye bide
Nae sneakin oot for strolls
Just check the lavvy every hoor
And stock-take, your, loo rolls

Our holidays have been pit aff
Noo that’s the Jet2 patter
Pit oan yer thermals,
have a laugh
And paddle ‘doon the waater’

Canary Isles, no for a while
Nae need for suntan cream
And awe because o this wee bug
We ken tae be…19

The boredom surely will set in,
But have a read, or doodle
Or plan yer menu for the month
Wi 95 pot noodles.

When these run oot, just look aboot
A change, it would be nice
We’ve beans and pasta by the ton
and twenty stane o rice.

So dinny think yell wipe us oot
Aye true, a few have died
Bubonic, bird flu, and TB
They came, they left, they tried

Ye might be gallus noo ma freen
As ye jump fae cup tae cup
But when we get oor vaccine made
Yer number will be up.

Thanks for Reading the Maritime Advocate online

Maritime Advocate Online is a weekly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to legal issues and dispute resolution. It is published to over 21,000 individual subscribers each week and republished within firms and organisations all over the maritime world. It is the largest publication of its kind. We estimate it goes to around 60,000 Readers in over 120 countries.