ECDIS needs to be better understood
The Standard Club has warned owners that they must act
now to comply with training requirements for the Electronic
Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). A special
edition of the P&I club's newsletter Standard Safety
explain the new legislation relating the mandatory carriage
of ECDIS on most ships which is being phased in over the
next few years.
The club advises its members that they need to understand
that “ECDIS is radically changing how ships are navigated”.
It adds that this “quantum change” in how ships are navigated
with ECDIS needs to be understood primarily by those on
the ship’s bridge but also by those mariners in marine and
safety departments ashore.
“If watch-keepers using ECDIS, even as an aid to navigation,
are not properly trained in its use or fully understand
the functionalities of each specific type of ECDIS unit,
the risk of incidents resulting from ECDIS assisted collisions
and groundings is likely to increase,” the club warns.
The club is distributing two training CDs, provided by
manufacturers ECDIS Ltd and TRANSAS, with its newsletter,
to explain ECDIS and to simulate how ECDIS operates.
The club says: “The legislative requirements for ECDIS
training are daunting. The sheer numbers and scale of the
training required is going to test many companies’ ability
to complete the training in time and interpret the varying
flag state’s requirements. Companies need to plan for this
immediately if not already started.”
It notes that many companies already have ECDIS fitted
onboard their ships and yet do not insist that the watch-keepers
be trained in its use, the argument being that ECDIS is
not being used as a primary means of navigation and is not
a mandatory requirement.
The club comments: “This is a short-sighted approach and,
in any event, ECDIS training will become a requirement under
the revised STCW code when the Manila amendments enter into
force on 1 January 2012.
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|Dutch law offers scant Chapter 11 protection
As an increasing number of shipowners face
cashflow problems due to the number of companies seeking
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under US law seems also
likely to rise. While Chapter 11 is often seen as given
protection from ship arrests worldwide it appears this is
not case everywhere, and in particular not in the Netherlands,
something that could implications for vessels trading around
the northern European coast and also for London based creditors.
Netherlands law firm AKD says that, while
beleaguered shipowners may be looking increasingly to Chapter
11 filings to protect their financial interests, the fact
is that Chapter 11 does not enjoy the force of law throughout
the world, and certainly not in the Netherlands.
Haco van der Houven van Oordt, head of the
shipping & offshore team at AKD’s headquarters in Rotterdam,
says: “In the light of recent events, many observers are
predicting a rush on the part of shipowners to seek Chapter
11 protection. But the Netherlands is a place where creditors
can still pursue the attachment of assets despite a Chapter
“Nobody – and that includes the banks - wants
to see shipping companies forced out of business,” says
Mr van der Houven van Oordt. “On the other hand, one cannot
expect the banks to forgo the opportunity to ring-fence
their losses in cases where they deem this to be the most
propitious course of action.” He adds: “Some observers have
predicted an increase by owners in the use of bankruptcy
protection filings, and evidence from the banks suggests
that a number of owners have indeed threatened to take such
steps absent an agreement to restructure their debt.”
According to AKD Chapter 11 or similar protection
does not enjoy worldwide currency. Mr van der Houven van
Oordt says: “It works in those countries – including the
US, the UK and in fact many others – which adopt a universal
approach to cross-border insolvencies. But there are other
countries, most notably The Netherlands, which adopt a territorial
approach to bankruptcy."
“Banks can take action against the assets
of a debtor in the Netherlands, even if the debtor is in
liquidation or subject to similar proceedings. Under Dutch
law, it is possible to act for banks and to auction vessels
in the Netherlands, despite insolvency and/or liquidation
proceedings being in place in other countries.” explains
Mr van der Houven van Oordt.
AKD says that the Netherlands is also a jurisdiction
in which very few claims enjoy priority over mortgage claims.
Moreover, it is widely recognised as a haven for those looking
to attach ships and/or to arrange for their swift judicial
auction, and counter-security is seldom required. There
are very few legal hurdles to pass in order to obtain leave
for attachment and, in addition, there is no obligation
for the claimant to pursue its claim in the courts of The
Netherlands following the attachment.
Mr van der Houven van Oordt says, “While most
mortgages are enforced in Rotterdam, a significant number
are also dealt with in Amsterdam. All ships proceeding to
Antwerp have to transit the River Scheldt, where they are
also subject to Netherlands jurisdiction. And so it is that
a number of mortgagees are known to have taken active steps
in the past to direct vessels to ports in the Amsterdam
– Rotterdam – Antwerp range for the specific purpose of
bringing themselves within the jurisdiction of the Dutch
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Responding to changing circumstances, and especially the
widespread use of private armed guards, a fourth edition
of the 'Best Management Practices for Protection against
Somalia Based Piracy' (BMP4) has been launched. At the same
time the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) in association
with the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA),
has compiled a reference document collating the policy and
rules of flag states on the carriage of arms and private
armed guards on board vessels.
Supported by all major shipping associations, the BMP4
provides invaluable information to help all shipping companies,
ship's masters and crew to fully prepare their ship for
transit through the High Risk Area, in order to avoid, deter
or delay piracy attack.
Changes include a section on the three fundamental requirements
of BMP 4, an aide mémoire on how to avoid being a victim
of piracy, a checklist for company planning and, expanded
guidance on the possible use of private guards. BMP 4 is
endorsed by EUNAVFOR, NATO, CMF, UKMTO and INTERPOL.
ICS says that, since they were first published, implementation
of Best Management Practices has consistently proved to
be the best defence against Somalia based piracy. The tabulated
information on flag states' rules has been added to the
ICS website and is proving to be a popular reference tool
for shipowners and other interested parties within the shipping
Kiran Khosla, ICS director of legal affairs and secretary
of the ICS' maritime law and insurance committees, says:
"When the information is compiled together like this it
is interesting to see the similarities and variations in
approach throughout the international community. Piracy
remains a major cause for concern among shipowners and the
wider shipping industry and we are not surprised that members
are keen to ensure they are up to speed with the latest
recommendations and advice.
"The consensus view among ICS national shipowner associations
remains that private armed guards are a clear second best
to military personnel. However, in view of the current crisis,
ICS has had to acknowledge that the decision to engage armed
guards, whether military or private, is a decision to be
made by the ship operator after due consideration of all
the risks and subject to the approval of the vessel's Flag
State and insurer," she said.
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The film is presented by Edward
Steamship Mutual, a leading P&I Club and Maritime London
member, has produced a film entitled “PIRACY – The Menace
at Sea” designed to assist masters and their crews to implement
effective action to deter piracy and to reduce the vulnerability
of merchant vessels in areas affected by pirates.
The film focuses on Best Management Practice Guidelines
(BMP) issued by the shipping industry and is presented by
former BBC newscaster Edward Stourton.
The film has so far been well received, described by the
Royal Navy as "essential guidance for any Mariner who is
intending to operate in or close to the Indian Ocean."
Chris Adams, head of loss prevention at Steamship Insurance
Management Services said: “It is important that all vessels
transiting the high risk area have a copy of this DVD onboard,
and that seafarers watch it in order to maximise their prospects
of avoiding capture. The human cost of piracy is less prominent
than it should be and we owe it to our seafarers to do the
most that we can to assist them from becoming victims of
this unacceptable menace.”
to order a copy.
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Norwegian Shipbrokers Association (NSA) and shipowners’
association BIMCO have launched a series of consultations
with the European and Asian sale & purchase sector on the
revision of SALEFORM93.
The industry’s most widely used standard contract for the
sale and purchase of secondhand ships, SALEFORM 93, has
been the subject of a revision process by the NSA and BIMCO
over the past 12 months.
Three half day SALEFORM consultations will take place in
Oslo (Thursday 22 September), London (Monday 26 September)
and Singapore (Thursday 6 October) and are open to all.
Input from these meetings will be taken to BIMCO’s Documentary
Committee meeting in November.
More details can be found at: www.shipbroker.no
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The North of England P&I club has reported free reserves
increasing by 30% to stand at USD312.4m at 20 February 2011.
North also reports a rise in premiums to US$314.2m and a
growth in net assets to USD810.4m.
Joint managing director Alan Wilson says: “We have seen
a substantial increase in our free reserve, achieved via
a positive underwriting surplus of USD55mwith a combined
ratio of 78.8% and an investment income of USD17 million.
Financial stability is vitally important and North is entering
its twentieth consecutive year of no unbudgeted supplementary
Mr Wilson also states that the strength and conservatism
of the club’s balance sheet produces capital rated at ‘AAA’
using Standard & Poor's capital model.
“This strength is underlined by the club’s internal assessment
of regulatory capital, which shows the available regulatory
capital is in excess of 200% of the anticipated Solvency
North says that it has has directed significant resource
and time to ensuring the club will be fully compliant with
Solvency II requirements.
Joint managing director Paul Jennings confirmed that total
entered tonnage reached a record 150m gt at the 20 February
2011 renewal and that the club is making progress towards
its strategic aim of insuring a significant percentage of
the world’s fleet .
However Mr Jennings says that North “moves forward with
an air of caution, ensuring that the club remains diligent
in order to maintain its current robust position”.
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The Shipowners’ Club has set a dedicated team of underwriters
and claims handlers to service its expanding book of business
in the offshore sector.
The P&I club, which specialises in covering small and specialist
vessels worldwide, has announced measures to reorganise
its London branch. This included the setting up of two internal
syndicates, bringing together both underwriters and claims
handlers specialising in specific geographical regions;
a third syndicate will focus on the offshore sector. Providing
liability insurance to the vast array of offshore and platform
support vessels, from anchor handlers, tugs and workboats
to the fast crew boats employed in the energy industry,
already forms a prominent part of the Club’s portfolio.
Shipowners plans to develop its reach to owners and brokers
of this vessel type even further.
Charles Hume, chief executive of the Club comments: “The
syndicate concept is one that we believe will ensure the
club’s high service levels are maintained and indeed enhanced.
We recognise that our membership in the offshore sector
represents a key element of our overall business. We expect
this specialist syndicate to provide both outstanding service
to existing Members and to further develop our market share
in this area, which demands significant expertise.”
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Braemar (incorporating The Salvage Association) has announced
the dates for its latest Port and Shipyard Familiarisation
courses to be held at Falmouth. The courses provide background
knowledge and understanding within the marine insurance
claims market on aspects of ships, shipyards and their repair
Taking place between 4 – 7 and 18-– 21 October, the courses
will deliver a practical insight into port operations, ships
and ship repairs, and provide a bridge of knowledge between
marine claims handling professionals and the ship repair
and ship building sectors.
The courses are primarily focussed on candidates from the
marine insurance market who will be given expert guidance
throughout the course by an experienced marine surveyor
acting as mentor.
Reporting that the current quota of courses are filling
up fast, Nigel Clark, managing director of Braemar (incorporating
The Salvage Association), said: “We are delighted to continue
to offer to this sector of the marine market a leading training
programme which provides claims handling staff with a practical
insight onto the technical aspects of marine surveying,
casualty investigation and reporting techniques, together
with a hands on guide to ship and ship repair operations.”
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Julie Lithgow takes up new role in September
The London based Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
has appointed Julie Lithgow as its new director. Ms Lithgow
has a significant track record within the maritime industry
and has high level management experience within both the
regulatory and commercial sectors. In her current position
as head of business intelligence at Pole Star, Ms Lithgow
works with governments, naval authorities and ship owners
on vessel tracking systems, ship security and IMO regulations.
Previously communications and marketing manager
for V.Holdings, she also held the position of planning and
development manager of the Nautical Institute, the professional
body for qualified seafarers.
Ms Lithgow said: “I am delighted to be joining
the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers as it celebrates
its centenary year. Its reputation as the leading organisation
for shipping professionals worldwide is well established,
and Branch growth across the globe reflects this. The shipping
industry has an increasing need for professional education
provision so this is a very exciting albeit challenging
time for the Institute and its relevance has never been
She continued: “It is also a great privilege
to follow in the footsteps of Alan Phillips whose vision
of moving the Institute always forward, increasing its international
presence and ensuring the highest standards of professional
ethics continues to inspire us.”
Ms Lithgow will take up her position in September.
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Mercy Ships UK
is holding a dinner event at the House of Lords on 20
September to acquaint London's maritime community with
its work. The charity provides medical treatments aboard
its hospital ship Africa Mercy, which has 78 beds, day
care facilities and staff of 450 volunteer doctors and
Anyone wishing to attend should contact Bernadette Nicely
at Foresight Ltd (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tickets are available for £100 per person.
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