1. Court in Spain Arrests a Ship for an Unpaid Lawyer’s Invoice
2. Managing Arbitration Effectively
3. Yacht Focus
4. Cyber Risks
5. Smart Ships
6. People and Places
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1. Court in Spain Arrests a Ship for an Unpaid Lawyer’s
Miquel Roca of Vigo lawyers Blas de Lezo writes:-
Our firm has recently obtained a Court Resolution from
the Mercantile Court No.3 of Vigo, Spain, which has now been upheld
by the competent Court of Appeal confirming that, in certain circumstances,
a lawyer’s invoice amounts to a “maritime claim” as described
by the 1999 Arrest Convention.
The facts were that a shipowner retained lawyers in Spain
to perform several instructions in order to settle certain claims owed
by a ship belonging to the shipowner, but also to bring the ship back
to class. The later meant that the lawyers had to hire the services
of engineers, technicians, security guards and also seek the best offer
possible from several local shipyards to refit the vessel.
All the tasks were performed successfully and as instructed,
but the shipowner failed to pay the lawyers. After several unsuccessful
chasers, the lawyers decided to arrest the ship and to commence arbitration.
The Mercantile Court of Vigo accepted that the lawyers
had a “maritime claim” as described in the 1999 Arrest Convention.
The shipowner, who logically enough instructed new lawyers, argued that
lawyers’ invoices were out of the scope of the 1999 Arrest Convention,
but lost the legal battle and the Mercantile Court found in favour of
the law firm that arrested the ship. The Shipowner then appealed to
the competent Court of Appeal, which in May 2015 decided that the unpaid
invoice of a lawyer does qualify as a “maritime claim” and
a the ship can consequently be arrested.
The Court of Appeal made clear that under the relevant
international convention, the lawyers simply had to “assert”
that the claim existed, the only requirement being to explain to the
Court which type of claim, within all those in the convention’s list,
they were asserting. The Court of Appeal was satisfied that when lawyers
perform certain tasks beyond litigation, such as the hire of services
of engineers, technicians, security guards and also to negotiate with
shipyards, the lawyer’s claim falls within the definition in Article
1.1.(l) “(l) goods, materials, provisions, bunkers, equipment (including
containers) supplied or services rendered to the ship for its operation,
management, preservation or maintenance.”
Shortly after receiving the Court of Appeal’s resolution,
the shipowners settled the lawyer’s invoice and the arrest was lifted.
The relevance of this Court Resolution is quite obvious. It is the first
time, to our knowledge, that a Court has arrested a ship for an unpaid
lawyer’s invoice. It also provides further guidance to the 1999 Arrest
Convention as to the wide interpretation which is given by Courts, in
particular in Spain, which helps to reinforce Spain as an arrest haven.
And finally, it gives a powerful tool to lawyers left out of pocket
by former shipowner clients.
2. Managing Arbitration Effectively
To Quadrant Chambers in Fleet Street we went, during the London International
Shipping Week to attend an arbitration workshop to observe members of
the London Maritime Arbitrators Association put their best feet forward
in a packed room full of very qualified listeners i.e. insurers, claims
handlers, solicitors and barristers. The Chairman was Michael Howard
QC and the Panelists were Clive Aston the LMMA President, Michael Collett
QC, Mark Hamsher, David Martin-Clark and Karen Maxwell.
The presentations were around these subjects:-
– clauses requiring mediation before arbitration – what is required
before getting on with arbitration;
– some do’s and don’ts of arbitration practice
– post award remedies, the slip rule, request for clarification, appeal
The presentations were of a very high standard and a substantial bundle
of materials was given out to those attending. We had a look to see
if the materials were lodged on the LMAA.s website but could not find
a trace of them. A pity as we would have liked to have included them
as a final link to this piece.
The Maritime Advocate under past editors has been generally underwhelmed
by the LMAA’s mission to explain and to this day we can say that in
any one year our inbox rarely runs over with offerings from London.
Perhaps the self-evidence of the superiority of arbitration London is
sufficient upon the day and the world will continue to beat a path to
our door and our desire is no mere species of hope that the high skills
needed to serve the maritime industry will pass from the current generation
to the next and not leak away to aspiring arbitration centres elsewhere
in the world.
3. Yacht Focus
We receive dozens of legal newsletters and we do try to read each one
in case it has something we should feature in the Avo in particular
and in the cause of self education in general since we are not that
far down the road to banish ignorance in any event. We recently received
an e-book from the firm of Hill Dickinson which shows every sign of
a team in a hurry to engage heavily with its yachting constituency.
With content and production values like these, they should go far. Kudos.
4. Cyber Risks
The September edition of the hfw Shipping Bulletin has a good piece
by Mathew Montgomery on the emerging threat of cyber risks to the transport
and shipping industry.
5. Smart Ships
Last time we were at the same conference as Dr Stopford, we heard him
ponder the limits of building bigger and bigger and the work that remains
to make ships take the benefit of modern communications and IT. Another
admirable paper released by Allianz Global sketches out how the future
might look over the next ten years so far as smart technology is concerned.
The firm seems to have replaced the Swiss Re as the source for interesting
thoughts and background papers within the context of marine insurance.
Read the report here:-
6. People and Places
Donald Anderson, the former CEO of V.Ships, has joined the board of
ShipServe as an independent non-executive director.
D’Appolonia, the independent engineering consulting company of
RINA Group, headquartered in Italy, has strengthened its expertise in
the marine offshore oil and gas sector by acquiring a majority stake
in Fano-based SeaTech Srl.
SeaTech provides analysis and design services, manages projects for
offshore pipelines, subsea systems and structures and met-ocean monitoring
systems, and also provides engineering supervision services on site.
Roberto Carpaneto, CEO, D’Appolonia, says, “Having SeaTech
as part of the group helps us to consolidate our engineering expertise
in the oil & gas sector, especially in the growth area of subsea
systems and deep-water exploration.”
SeaTech provides specialised engineering services to main contractors
and major engineering companies operating in the oil and gas industry.
Founded in 2000, today SeaTech has a turnover of Euro 2.8m. SeaTech
will be 68 per cent owned by D’Appolonia with the remaining shares
held by the founders.
The OIL Group of Companies has appointed Bertil Olsson as president
and chief executive officer (CEO). He succeeds Robert Stauffer, who
will retire in January 2016.mOlsson joins from Marsh & McLennan
Companies, where he served as managing director and head of South Central
region, Marsh US.
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
Searching against the term “unpaid bill” we uncovered this
robust prose from all the way back to back issue 6 of January 1999,
a time when the publication was not online.
Physician, heal thyself
INSERT an outspoken debt collector into a conference mainly attended
by lawyers who specialise in arresting ships to claim other people’s
debts. Let the debt collector give some practical tips on how to avoid
getting into debt in the first place. Then ask the audience how many
of them follow the tips? And as a supplementary, how many have lost
money on bills that were never paid? The answer, at the Fourth Annual
International Forum on Ship Arrest, was that about one third of the
delegates had faced unpaid bills at one time or another because they
had failed to take elementary precautions to check out the creditworthiness
of their clients. Incredible, but true. Inspires confidence, doesn’t
This year’s Arresting Ships Forum was held at the Park Lane Hotel,
London, in early December, and IBC pulled in a good crowd from twenty-eight
different nations. The debt collector, who rounded up the conference,
was Jonathan Clegg, of Global Financial Recoveries, a lawyer himself
and no stranger to arresting ships. He told the delegates they would
be better checking credit and status before they start than claiming
afterwards. Good advice but, given the realities of shipping, many of
those present preferred their clients – unsecured ship suppliers, bunker
suppliers and the like – not to hear it. Where would their arresting
business be if everyone did their credit control properly?
Their arresting business could be anywhere. Ince & Co hosted a
brilliant half-day workshop which was planned and executed by Ted Graham.
The whole audience took part, and this was one of the few conferences
where the hostesses with microphones had no time to do crosswords. Instead
they had to get the mike to people who were exchanging cross words about
how things were done, or might be done, in their part of the world.
The unfolding saga of a series of unhappy ships named after fruits was
a peach of a story, and it brought out the differences in practice and
approach of lawyers from around the globe.
That was the big message at Ship Arrest 1998. Despite the imminence
of the diplomatic conference on the new arrest convention set for the
end of March 1999, there is little likelihood of either law or practice
converging anywhere in the world. Just on one day, we hear from Panama,
Rotterdam, Denmark and Korea, each with different schemes, different
securities, different risks, different time scales and no plans to change.
The best bet, it seems, is to run a shipkeeping business in Korea. You
get to charge what you like and you get priority of payment. Put another
way, don’t arrest in Korea if you can avoid it, because there will be
no money left to pay your claim once the shipkeeping bill has gone through.
Money changes nothing
SOME organisations, like all lawyers, are born to be unpopular. Yet
popularity has little to do with success. The International Transport
Workers Federation is a case in point. These days, the ITF is bestowing
its benison on shipping in the manner of a stevedore with no pockets.
A million here, half a million there. And more power to it.
It is richly ironic that a trade union of trade unions should end up
as one of the few sectors of shipping which appears to have any real
money at the moment. History does show that, where you find a labour
movement, you will often find money. Yet not everybody has spent the
money so wisely, or with such regard for the greater good, as has the
ITF in the past couple of years.
The ITF’s latest contribution to what it hopes will be a better and
safer industry came recently in the form of a $500,000 donation to an
international memorial to seafarers to be erected outside the IMO building
on London’s Albert Embankment. We could all think of better ways of
spending the money than putting up another statue, but the ITF wants
to help commemorate the 2,200-plus seafarers who die every year at sea.
A decent sentiment, this, in an age when it is increasingly difficult
to find anybody with the time or inclination to pray for those in peril
on the sea. But it would be nice if, just for once, the ITF could do
something like this without knocking flags of convenience.
“Seafarers on flag of convenience ships face at least twice the
risk of being killed at sea compared to those on board respectable national
flag vessels,” said ITF general secretary David Cockroft when announcing
the donation to IMO. He may be right, and I suppose asking the ITF to
stop banging on exclusively about flags of convenience, as if they were
all of the same standard, and for that matter as if they were the only
unsafe part of shipping, is like asking the anti-hunt brigade to stop
going on about the evils of the foxtrot. But should the ITF mantra today,
in the brave new world of port state control and the ISM code, be unchanged
from the bad old days when PanLibHon was a word, and a dirty one at
that? If it should, there is something seriously wrong with shipping.
IT has become fashionable in my part of the world for people to go
in search of new ways of relieving so-called “stress”. People
of my acquaintance – including some lawyers – have taken to playing
tapes of killer whales singing An Old Raincoat Will Never Let You Down,
or rubbing buttered cauliflower florets in their hair, or reading The
Little Book of Calm.
Call me Mr Grumpy, but I cannot be doing with any of this. My preferred
option if feeling a little batey at the end of the day is to open at
random any volume of Benchley or Betjeman or Bierce, and read for five
minutes. Then I am ready for the best of three sets with Kublai Khan.
Just last week, I came upon this gem from Bierce:
“An inoffensive person walking in a public place was assaulted
by a stranger with a club, and severely beaten. When the stranger with
a club was brought to trial, the complainant said to the judge, “I
do not not know why I was assaulted. I have not an enemy in the world.”
“That,” said the defendant, “is why I struck him.”
“Let the prisoner be discharged,” said the judge. “A
man who has no enemies has no friends. The courts are not for such.”
Over breakfast one morning, a woman said to her husband, “I bet
you don’t know what day this is.”
“Of course I do,” he indignantly answered, going out the
door to the office.
At 10 AM, the doorbell rang and when the woman opened the door, she
was handed a box containing a dozen long stemmed red roses.
At 1 PM, a foil wrapped, two pound box of her favorite chocolates arrived.
Later, a boutique delivered a designer dress.
The woman couldn’t wait for her husband to come home.
“First the flowers, then the chocolates and then the dress!”
“I’ve never had a more wonderful Groundhog Day in my life!”
[|Source: Paul Dixon]
1. “They told me at the blood bank this might happen.”
2. “This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in
the last time management course you sent me to.”
3. “Whew! Guess I left the top off the liquid paper”
4. “I wasn’t sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement
and envisioning a new paradigm!”
5. “This is one of the seven habits of highly effective people!”
6. “I was testing the keyboard for drool resistance”
7. Actually doing a “Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan”
(SLEEP) you learned at the last mandatory seminar your boss made you
8. “I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work-related
stress. Are you discriminatory towards people who practice Yoga?”
9. “Darn! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a
solution to our biggest problem.”
10. “The coffee machine is broken….”
11. “Someone must’ve put decaf in the wrong pot.”
12. “Boy, that cold medicine I took last night just won’t wear
13. “Ah, the unique and unpredictable circadian rhythms of the
14. “Wasn’t sleeping. Was trying to pick up contact lens without
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