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US vessel owners cannot contract out of liability under OPA 90 for oil spill clean-up and compensation

The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal reminds US owners who charter or otherwise turn over the control of their vessels that they potentially remain liable under OPA 90 for the negligent, and even illegal, acts of the bareboat charterer/operator. We thank US lawyer, David Reisman a shareholder in the Liskow & Lewis New Orleans office for his summary of the United States v. American Commercial Lines decision. Background In July of 2008, nearly 300,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Mississippi River in New Orleans when a tugboat towing ...

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UK ship insurer Britannia to set up subsidiary in Luxembourg due to Brexit

British ship insurer Britannia plans to set up a subsidiary in Luxembourg as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, it said on Friday, to ensure it can continue to trade in Europe. Europe accounts for over 40 percent of Britannia’s global business, according to company data. Insurers are making contingency plans because when Britain leaves the EU on March 29, 2019, they could lose “passporting” rights that allow UK financial services firms to trade in Europe without the need for locally regulated entities. So far Dublin, ...

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The Shipowners’ Club: Renewal 2018/2019

In our Half Year Report, it was noted that the Club had achieved a positive underwriting result, reporting a 99.3% combined ratio. The Board noted that during the third quarter there had been ongoing pressure on income and that claims activity had continued in line with the first half of the year, which included enhanced activity of claims reported by Clubs to the International Group through the Pooling mechanism. This may be an indication of an uplift in global claims activity, and a returning to higher utilisation in shipping. The ...

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Poor stability caused man overboard

It was late autumn and the vessel had loaded timber logs. A large portion of the logs was loaded on deck. The Chief Officer had overseen the loading and the crew had secured the cargo. This was a normal operation that the crew had done many times before. The vessel was fully loaded and didn’t have much ballast onboard. During the voyage to the destination port the crew checked and secured the cargo as required. The weather during the voyage was favourable at about 4 on the Beaufort scale, so ...

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Prepare for environmental inspections in China

China launches a year-long inspection campaign on ’Ship Pollution Control’ in the Hainan Province as part of its efforts to reduce air and water pollution associated with shipping. According Gard’s local correspondent, Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service Ltd, the Chinese Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) has announced that it will conduct an inspection campaign on ‘Ship Pollution Control’ at ports in the Hainan Province between 3 November 2017 and 3 December 2018. The inspections will focus on compliance with MARPOL Annex VI on air emissions as well as the Ballast ...

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Good Housekeeping Essential To Keep A Vessel Ship-Shape

Daily maintenance and cleaning tasks are essential to supporting a safe working environment on-board a ship, but the importance of these simple actions can also often be overlooked. The latest in The American Club’s Pocket Guides, which contain valuable loss prevention advice for its Members and the industry at large, has just been published, titled Good Housekeeping. The guide underlines how essential a well maintained and uncluttered work environment is to the health and safety of the ship’s crew and the efficient and secure operation of the vessel. While the ...

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Lessons Learnt: Chemical injury to eye

Incident description When conducting rounds of the engine room, the duty engineer noticed an accumulation of fluid on the boiler flat deck apparently caused by leakage from the chemical dosing units of the auxiliary boiler. He stopped the dosing pumps and proceeded to investigate the source of the leakage. When checking joints, the delivery side plastic hose for one of the dosing pumps suddenly disconnected due to back pressure in the system, causing chemical to spurt out from the hose and into his face and left eye. He immediately informed ...

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Bulk cargoes to/from Argentina

Cargo quantity – shore scales vs draft surveys The Argentine Customs Authorities’ General Resolution No. 4138-E/2017 entered into force on 4 October and establishes that importers and exporters can now select the method to be used to establish the weight of a dry bulk cargo. However, Customs authorities are still authorized to counter-check the weight declared using shore scales. The new Resolution repeals General Resolution 3506/2013 which had been in force since 2013, see “Shore scale measurements in Argentina”, and is aimed at reducing the time needed to complete Customs ...

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Call for united front on cargo safety

Safety aspects of the way in which cargo is packed and transported in unit loads across the global supply chain continue to be the focus of opportunities for improvement. During a session of the Intermodal Europe Conference in Amsterdam today, four industry organisations representing different sectors of the supply chain have been drawing attention, in particular, to the responsibilities of container owners and operators in providing equipment that is fit for purpose and properly packed with cargo as set out in the CTU Code. The Global Shippers Forum (GSF), ICHCA ...

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Reminder of Kingfisher Information Service

In June 2016, the Club issued a bulletin advising Members to utilise the Kingfisher Information Service of offered by Seafish . Kingfisher’s Offshore Renewable & Cable Awareness project has been designed to assist fishermen operating in the North Sea and around the UK by providing free, accurate and up-to-date information relating to subsea cables and offshore wind farms. Their service includes an interactive Google map, free email update service and bi weekly bulletins which aim to keep the fishing industry up to date with information relating to the latest hazards, ...

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Brazilian Customs reintroduce the obligation to produce the original bill of lading for taking delivery

In 2013 the Brazilian Customs authorities authorised terminals to allow delivery of cargo upon the presentation of an Import Declaration, a copy of the Bill of Lading (front and reverse) and proof that they have paid the respective taxes, without the need for the importer/consignee to produce the original Bill of Lading. This was concerning for carriers because cargo released by the terminal without production of the original Bill of Lading clearly increases the risk of mis-delivery, with little or no recourse for the carrier against terminals as they are ...

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The Shipowners’ Club Extends Partnership With ISWAN To Better Psychological Wellbeing

Following the success of our Crew Health campaign, the Club is pleased to announce that it will extend its partnership with the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) to deliver a series of articles on Psychological Wellbeing at Sea. Claims related to poor mental health are becoming more apparent to the Club. In an effort to address this trend, the Club has partnered with ISWAN, an international charity dedicated to the relief of need, hardship or distress of seafarers. Louise Hall, Director – Loss Prevention commented: ‘The Shipowners’ Club ...

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Increased Exposure for Shipowners in Medical Malpractice Cases

On 8th June 2017, in a close 4-3 opinion, the Florida Supreme Court found that non-economic damages caps in medical malpractice personal injury cases are unconstitutional. The claimant, Susan Kalitan, brought suit against North Broward District Hospital (the Hospital) having been left severely injured as a result of complications arising during her carpal tunnel surgery. The claimant was receiving outpatient treatment at the Hospital for her symptoms and her treatment required she undergo surgery and be placed under general anaesthesia. During preparation for the surgery intubation was necessary. Unfortunatley, this ...

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New OCIMF pre-fixture tanker vetting cyber requirement

Following the EXXON VALDEZ incident in 1989, the OCIMF started a pre-fixture tanker vetting program in 1993 with the introduction of the the Ship Inspection Report Program (SIRE). In 2004 OCIMF introduced the Tanker Management and Self Assessment (TMSA) program for the vetting of tanker owners’ office and/or management. The TMSA includes certain Key Performance Indicators and in 2008, OCIMF introduced TMSA Version 2 which has 12 performance elements. In April 2017, the OCIMF issued . In addition to the inclusion of ballast water management, fuel management and other items, ...

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The UK P&I Club to set up a subsidiary in the Netherlands

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union has led to uncertainty as to the ability of UK insurers to trade within the single market after Brexit.The single market allows financial services firms authorised in one member state to provide goods and services across the European Union without the need for further authorisations. Since the UK P&I Club, in common with many international insurers, is established in the UK (as well as Bermuda) it is necessary to make arrangements to continue trading after the UK’s exit from the European ...

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