November 6th, 2020
Editor: Sandra Speares | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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IN THIS ISSUE
1. Into the citadel!
Notices & Miscellany
Readers’ responses to our articles are very welcome and, where suitable, will be reproduced:
1. Into the citadel!
I only ever met a stowaway once, when I was patrolling a darkened tweendeck with the light of my torch and he leaped out from behind a bale of wool, where he claimed to be sleeping. I almost died of fright, before ushering him to the booby hatch and the gangway. He was perfectly well behaved and cheerful as he wandered off along the wharf in Kingston, probably to look for another ship. The police weren’t remotely interested, but we redoubled our stowaway searches before we eventually left the port.
In its way, this incident merely demonstrates what seafarers are having to put up with in so many parts of the world. Seafaring has always been something of a “frontier” existence, but it has become more hazardous at a time when there is this surge in desperate migration, along with piracy, kidnapping and the malevolent influence of the drug cartels. I sometimes think of the little notice most of our ships would have under the glass on the chart table – “You have to be mad to work here” it said. These days there is no doubt.
The vulnerability of the modern seafarer to these “social” problems cannot be denied. On most ships, there are so few of them, so the bodies available to respond to the untoward challenges are just not there. Just a few determined thugs, angry stowaways or enraged migrants picked up at sea will have a small crew at their mercy, no arms being permitted aboard the modern vessel under any circumstances.
So there are insufficient “perimeter defences” to keep a big ship safe against either kidnappers or indeed desperate stowaways. There will be a comforting logbook entry noting that “a thorough stowaway search has been conducted”, but there are probably not enough of a crew to properly examine the ship, while there will be inevitably pressure to get off the berth and away to sea. There are places, such as the rudder trunk, which are difficult to get at, while access to even a well-secured ship may have been facilitated by local corruption, with the watchman ushering the would-be travellers to a safe space.
Michael Grey is the former editor of Lloyd’s List.
2. Combatting drug smuggling
Combatting the spread of narcotics using ships as a means of transport has been increasingly in the news in recent years. Masters and crews have often been implicated in drug busts by the authorities whether rightly or wrongly.
Law firm Campbell Johnston Clark’s Ian Short and Sam Jones have put together a commentary on drug smuggling in commercial shipping, as improvements in anti- narcotics operations round the globe have meant traffickers are finding increasingly novel and ingenious ways of smuggling drugs. They look at the indirect legal and commercial consequences to shipowners and charterers arising out of delays and losses caused.
3. William O’Neil
Tributes have been coming in for former IMO Secretary-General William O’Neil who has died at the age of 93. “It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Mr. O’Neil, who was a great friend and mentor who made a huge personal contribution to securing globally applicable safety, security and environmental standards,” IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said.
“Above all, Mr. O’Neil was dedicated to enabling developing States to adopt and implement IMO instruments, through his active pursuance of new sources of extra-budgetary funding. And he worked tirelessly to strengthen the relevance and capacity of IMO’s educational institutes, the World Maritime University and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute.” During Mr. O’Neil’s tenure, the Organization adopted a number of new treaties and responded to global issues such as maritime security and piracy.
The introduction of the mandatory International Safety Management (ISM) Code and the key 1997 revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, were amongst other landmark achievements made by IMO under Mr. O’Neil’s stewardship. The attacks of September 11, 2001 led to the development of an entirely new regime for the security in the maritime field, the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.
4. Small claims handling
There are many, many small claims which cannot be cost-effectively resolved and which therefore simply linger and fester, arbitrator Jonathan Lux says. A small group of legal experts have therefore come up with a brand-new scheme which, they believe, has the potential to resolve this problem.
This is a process which is most likely to add value for parties with small claims (i.e. claims of up to USD 50,000) or parties whose claims are relatively straightforward. The idea is that such claims should be resolved as quickly and inexpensively as possible, with the benefit of a decision from an Expert drawn from the panel who is both reputable and experienced in dispute resolution. The aim is to achieve this without either party having to incur an extensive investment in costs and in-house resources.
That being said, the SCRIBE Process is unlikely to be suitable for parties whose claims involve complex technical / legal issues, public policy issues, issues which may involve fraud, criminal, or politically sensitive matters.
As more often than not, parties in a contractual relationship will have certain dispute resolution clauses incorporated into their contracts. Parties interested in the SCRIBE Process should be mindful of this and should carefully consider the nature of the claim(s) / issues(s) involved and should also consider the various dispute resolution options available to them before deciding if the SCRIBE Process is suitable. Parties using the SCRIBE Process should also be mindful of the fact that the written decision issued by the Expert will not carry the same weight nor will it have the same effect as an award from an arbitral tribunal / a court judgment.
5. Covid business interruption
Tatham Macinnes draws our attention to a landmark decision relating to Covid-19 insurance. The Financial Conduct Authority has pursued a test case against multiple insurers providing business interruption cover in order to try and quickly bring more certainty to the wordings of hundreds of thousands of policies.
In a long and complicated first instance judgement, the Court provided varying degrees of clarification and guidance on the interpretation of many commonly used terms in business interruption insurance policies, including: Prevention; Vicinity; Event; Incident; Restriction; Interruption; and Authorities.
This article seeks to identify the key issues considered and the main findings adopted by the Court. The decision is expected to impact on “some 700 types of policies across over 60 different insurers and 370,000 policyholders could potentially be affected by the test case, according to the law firm.
6. Eternal Bliss
The TT Club is warning of potential new exposures resulting from the judgment in the case of the Eternal Bliss. The Club believes this first instance judgment in relation to a charterparty dispute has the potential to spawn a range of liability exposures that could reverberate through the complex network of supply chain contracts. Most particularly the reasoning may expose ports and terminals in non-liner trades.
Eternal Bliss was voyage chartered to carry a cargo of soybeans from Brazil to China. After the ship arrived in China, she waited at anchorage for 31 days due to congestion and lack of storage ashore. Upon discharge it was found that some of the cargo was damaged with mould and caking. The ship owner settled the cargo interests’ claim and sought to recover the losses from the charterer in arbitration.
K LINE Pte v PRIMINDS SHIPPING (HK) Co Ltd (“Eternal Bliss”)
7. Training berths
The UK Chamber of Shipping has highlighted the issue of seafarer training in the pandemic. The Covid –19 pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives one way or another, but the long-term impact on seafarer training and education is only now becoming apparent.
Many young UK Cadets in training have been unable to complete their sea time due to travel restrictions enforced nationally and internationally, none more affected than those cadets being sponsored by cruise line companies whose vessels are either in warm lay up or temporarily out of operation. The MCA and the MNTB have offered a number of solutions that have helped to alleviate some of the issues, back to back college phasing, alternatives to sea time etc, but the consequences of cadets not securing sea time are far reaching and something needs to be done now.
They are appealing to shipping companies to come forward with the offer of a training berth/s which they can then offer to one of the many cadets whose training has been dramatically impacted due to their lack of sea time.
If you think that you could assist with one berth or several berths, please get in touch with Kathryn Neilson, Director of MNTB.
8. Seafarers’ living nightmare
Life during Covid is described as a “living nightmare” by one seafarer in a new report. Seafarers continue to face a bleak future in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest Seafarers Happiness Index report, published by The Mission to Seafarers.
The survey, undertaken with the support of the Shipowners’ Club and Wallem Group, reports on the experiences of seafarers between July and September 2020. This period saw some welcome action to address the dire situation facing the world’s seafarers in the midst of Covid-19, including the ongoing crew change crisis, but still fell short of the comprehensive response that is needed from the international shipping community in the face of the second wave of the pandemic. Issues raised include a decline in optimism as seafarers faced the second wave of the pandemic, financial and crew change issues. Crew cohesion has been put under pressure, the report suggests.
In response to this latest survey, Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, commented: “Once again, the Seafarers Happiness Index has revealed the immense human cost of the Covid-19 pandemic among the men and women who serve at sea and upon whom we all depend. It is deeply worrying to learn of the impact on the bonds between crewmates and the damage to social cohesion onboard. All of us who care about our seafarers must act now and act faster to deliver the immediate support and relief that they need, along with a longer-term plan of action; one that meets the needs of those serving at sea and those stranded ashore.
“The Mission to Seafarers is doing all that we can through our global network of ship visitors and seafarer centres, including adapting our facilities to make them ‘Covid-secure’ and developing alternative solutions such as our online ‘chat to a chaplain’ service, but this crisis requires a global response from our industry leaders and national authorities.”
Louise Hall, director for Loss Prevention at the Shipowners’ Club, emphasised the need for the industry to embrace new ways of meeting the needs of seafarers: “This latest report highlights the heightened plight of seafarers both ashore and at home. Those on board are feeling increasingly concerned with the ongoing situation with many voicing that they feel physically and emotionally exhausted, whereas those at home are surrounded by the uncertainty of their future employment and financial woes. It is imperative that we work together as an industry to provide new services and tools, such as the online ‘chat to a chaplain’ service, to improve the health and wellbeing of seafarers during these most difficult times.”
Frank Coles, chief executive of Wallem Group said: “The index is a measure of the incompetent leadership of world governments to recognise and support seafarers. We need to start listening to our seafarers and urge governments to open their borders to seafarers and confirm their key worker status as a matter of urgency.”
To read the latest Seafarers Happiness Index report, click here.
9. UKHO innovation challenge
As part of the ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme, the UK Hydrographic Office is inviting innovators and start-ups to develop new solutions for the maritime risk and insurance sector using ADMIRALTY data.
For the maritime insurance sector, access to accurate and reliable data is essential to help quantify risks faced by shipping companies and create the best insurance products to support their customers.
As part of the UKHO’s new innovation challenge, participants will have access to ADMIRALTY data that can provide valuable insight into risk and asset management not yet available that is spread over a large geographic area and historic period. These participants will be asked to identify, trial and prove how this data can be used to help build more accurate risk models that can lead to even better underwriting decisions and improved maritime insurance products.
To take part, participants will need to register on the ADMIRALTY website and submit their solutions by the 20th November 2020.
You can register and find more details on the Maritime Risk and Insurance challenge here: admiralty.co.uk/innovation-programme/maritime-insurance-challenge
10. Smart ships
The maritime industry is undergoing a massive shift as vessels transform into sophisticated sensor hubs, generating data and connecting through satellites in an expanding interconnected web. To enable the uptake of these systems and unlock the associated efficiencies, DNV GL is launching a new chapter to its world leading rules for ship classification: Digital Features. The new chapter was launched with three new notations (D-INF, DDV, REW) on 28 October and will enter into force on January 1st 2021. In addition, a new Smart vessel notation (Smart) – a framework for assessing and visualising digital vessel features – was introduced.
Vessels, their systems and components are now increasingly linked to the internet, making them accessible from anywhere and part of a network of online maritime assets. This is giving the industry access to real-time data, enabling increased automation, decision support, remote monitoring, and overall boosts to safety and performance. At the same time this data – collected in cloud storage and used as the basis for digital twins and other operational, design and construction simulations – is having a dramatic effect on the way the industry looks at information, while opening up new business models and risks.
“The pandemic has triggered a renaissance in the maritime industry, as we see greater and deeper adoption of digital solutions to enhance safety, sustainability and efficiency,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, chief executive of DNV GL – Maritime. “The key to maximising the potential of these digital technologies and strategies is to enable companies to more easily build trust in them. With the new Digital Features chapter, we have laid a clear class foundation for three of the most essential building blocks of maritime digitalization.”
“Digital Features and Smart are exciting next steps in our classification journey because they enable owners, operators and yards to qualify and demonstrate their latest technologies,” added Ørbeck-Nilssen. “Right across the industry we are seeing a wave of innovation that is propelling the industry forward. These new rules and notations give our customers the perfect platform for demonstrating cutting edge technologies and unlocking the value they bring to the market.”
The new chapters and 4 class notations were launched on October 28th and will enter into force on January 1st 2021. A description of the rules and links can be found here: https://www.dnvgl.com/news/dnv-gl-rules-for-ships-october-2020-edition-188668
11. ITIC warning on traffickers
The International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) is warning its ship and port agent members to be aware of approaches from people traffickers attempting to smuggle illegal immigrants through their ports.
Traffickers, pretending to be shipping companies, are approaching ship agents and requesting them to handle a change of crew, including booking travel and accommodation. Operating through an agent in this way gives the traffickers a degree of legitimacy and provides a cover for their illegal operations. Often the ship agent will make the arrangements but the migrants will simply disappear.
He continued: “Coronavirus has impacted heavily on the process of crew changes and this appears to have shifted focus away from people smuggling. Traffickers are resourceful and can pass themselves off as a legitimate vessel operator. Not every offer of business is genuine and due diligence should be carried out on all potential new clients. We urge our members, and others, to remain extremely vigilant.”
12. IUMI Stats
The International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) has released its 2020 analysis of the global marine insurance market – known as IUMI Stats. The report presents a range of statistical data from a variety of sources, including IUMI’s own data, to provide an insight into the marine insurance market within the context of global trade and shipping.
IUMI’s Secretary General, Lars Lange explains: “Working with a number of valued partners, our Facts and Figures Committee has produced this year’s statistical analysis which also includes insight and opinion. IUMI collects data on global marine premiums which we present alongside loss ratios, claims and other data. Whilst our data covers 2019, we also try to comment on the general health of marine underwriting but that has been extremely challenging this year. The coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted trade, shipping, commodity prices and consumer activity which in turn, means the outlook for marine insurance is far from certain. Despite this, our analysis is reporting the beginnings of a modest market recovery in most business lines.”
“This year, and for the first time, our report also includes the initial findings from IUMI’s major claims database. Over the past three years we have recruited 22 national insurance associations who, together, have submitted 6,800 records of major marine losses. Our analysis of the major cargo claims data can be seen in the report. I’d like to thank our partner, Boston Consulting Group, and the project team for undertaking such a large and valuable project”.
The full report is available to download from IUMI’s website: https://iumi.com/statistics
Notices & Miscellany
DNV GL chairman
New IHMA president
The Tracking Tool provides live updates on developments related to Covid-19, with data provided by North Correspondents as well as international maritime and health organisations. This allows users to plan their operations based on the most up-to-date information regarding infection rates, port entry requirements, quarantine rules and more.
BV Nordics chief
New Wikborg Rein Singapore MD
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A tribute to the great actor Sean Connery who died recently.
Sean Connery walks into a bar and takes a seat next to a very attractive woman. He gives her a quick glance and then casually looks at his watch for a moment. The woman notices this and asks “Is your date running late?”
“No” he replies, “Q has just given me this state-of-the-art watch. I was just testing it.”
The intrigued woman says. “A state-of-the-art watch? What’s so special about it?”
Bond explains, “It uses alpha waves to talk to me telepathically.”
The lady says, “What’s it telling you now?”
Well it says you’re not wearing any panties.”
The woman giggles and replies, “Well it must be broken because I’m wearing panties!”
Bond smirks, taps his watch and says, “Bloody thing’s an hour fast.”
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Maritime Advocate Online is a fortnightly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to legal issues and dispute resolution. It is published to over 20,000 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.