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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Seacurus debates MLC abandonment insurance issues with UK Trade Minister

During a recent tour of north-east England, Lord Livingston, the UK’s Minister for Trade and Investment, visited the Gateshead headquarters of Seacurus which, in April 2013, launched CrewSEACURE, the first ever insurance policy designed exclusively to protect the rights of seafarers when ships are abandoned at sea.

Seacurus has a well-established relationship with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), having received expert advice and support from its Passport to Export scheme which helped the company to develop 99 per cent of its insurance premium income from overseas markets. As such, Seacurus was selected as one of only three companies in the north-east of England to meet with the minister.

Commenting on the visit, Thomas Brown, managing director of Seacurus, said, “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to meet with Lord Livingston and to discuss with him our work with the international shipping industry to deliver bespoke insurance solutions.

“While Seacurus is a relatively small organisation, our market expertise, willingness to innovate and commitment to serving the marine sector has enabled us to secure a prominent position in the global market, to deliver important marine insurance solutions that tackle difficult modern day problems such as piracy and seafarer abandonment. The recent acquisition of our company by the Barbican Insurance Group can only serve to enhance our global reach.”

During the visit, Lord Livingston heard about recent international regulatory developments affecting the rights of seafarers in cases of abandonment. Commenting on these discussions, Thomas Brown said, “Such regulatory developments have a positive effect on the welfare of 1.2 million seafarers serving at sea today and Seacurus is leading the development of bespoke insurance solutions to address the specific needs of the Maritime Labour Convention in this regard.

“We are proud to be a part of the UK-based insurance industry that has a long history of world-leading innovation. Through CrewSEACURE, we have provided the shipping industry with a cost-effective means of meeting all its financial security obligations under the Maritime Labour Convention, and we hope that it will become an integral part of the industry’s efforts to protect its seafarers.”

Seacurus Ltd, part of the Barbican Insurance Group, is an FCA-regulated insurance broker founded in 2004, specialising in bespoke revenue protection cover for the maritime industry. It is a market leader in the design and implementation of solutions to protect companies from unforecasted balance-sheet impacts, including credit default, charter party cancellations, hijackings and voyage disruptions caused by political events. Seacurus established the first delegated underwriting binding authority for marine kidnap insurance and is an approved Lloyd’s Coverholder. www.seacurus.com

Formed in 2007, Barbican Insurance Group underwrites business predominantly through its syndicates at Lloyd’s. It also has a non-Lloyd’s financial solutions business based in Guernsey which offers insurance and reinsurance programmes to the global market, and a number of service companies including Barbican Underwriting Limited, Castel Underwriting Agencies Limited, Professional Indemnity Protect Limited and Seacurus Limited.

Barbican Syndicates at Lloyd’s have a stamp capacity of £250m for the 2014 year of account and underwrite marine, aviation and transport re/insurance, property re/insurance and specialty lines, including casualty reinsurance, cyber liability, healthcare liability, financial and professional lines and professional indemnity.

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Liberia concludes Kerala hijacking investigation

The Liberian Registry has concluded its investigation into the pirate-hijacking of the product tanker Kerala off Luanda, Angola, on 18 January 2014. The Liberian investigation is based on evidence gathered by an INTERPOL-led multinational Incident Response Team as well as findings of its own investigative efforts.

The Liberian Administration is currently in the process of publishing its report into the hijacking of the Liberian-flagged vessel. Liberia requested the attendance of the INTERPOL Incident Response Team in Tema, Ghana, the port of refuge to which the Kerala was directed following the disembarkation of the pirates. This team, supported and helped by the Ghanaian authorities, undertook a crime scene investigation on board the vessel.

A representative of the Liberian Flag Administration also attended on board in Tema to observe the collection of forensic evidence by the authorities, and interviewed some crew members. All parties were given full access to the vessel's documents, officers and crew. Upon arrival at Tema, Ghana, all crew members received immediate medical treatment and have since been repatriated.

Following the hijacking off Angola, the vessel proceeded to Nigeria and the cargo was offloaded off the coast of that country by the pirates, believed to be Nigerian nationals. During the hijacking, the fourth engineer was stabbed by the pirates, and other crew members were beaten. The investigation report described the ordeal of the fourth engineer based on his account of the circumstances of the hijacking incident. It also revealed that, during the hijacking, the pirates disabled the Kerala’s AIS and other communication equipment so that the vessel could not be tracked from shore or satellite.

During this period, the pirates painted over the identifying features of the vessel, including funnel, name (Eral instead of Kerala) and IMO number. The pirates also undertook three separate ship-to-ship transfers of cargo amounting to the theft of approximately 12,271 mt of cargo.

According to the findings, the owners/operators of the Kerala re-established contact with the vessel on 26 January 2014, shortly after the pirates had disembarked. The vessel immediately set a course for Tema, where a team of Angolan Navy personnel subsequently boarded the Kerala and ultimately directed it back to Angola.

The vessel was cleared for discharge at Port Luanda on 19 February, 2014. Since then, a team of Angolan policemen have prevented embarkation or disembarkation of any person without permission from their superiors. The Kerala has not been allowed to depart Angola, even though it has completed cargo discharge operations

Liberia actively participated at the Joint Co-ordination Meeting of interested parties of the Kerala hijacking incident at INTERPOL Headquarters in Lyon in April 2014.
It remains committed to fighting armed robbery and piracy, a crime against humanity, in all its forms, wherever it may occur in the world.

Following publication of the investigation, the Government of Liberia will continue working with authorities in the Gulf of Guinea region and other legitimate organisations in order to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.

The Liberian Registry is one of the world’s largest and most active shipping registers, and has long been considered the world’s most technologically advanced maritime administration. It has a long-established track record of combining the highest standards of safety for vessels and crews with the highest levels of responsive service to owners. www.liscr.com

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Thursday, 22 May 2014

ITIC issues fake agency accounts warning

ITIC has issued a warning to shipping and transport intermediaries about a scam currently being perpetrated whereby pre-funded port costs are being diverted to a fake bank account.

In each case the party due to make the payment has received an email advising that the agent’s bank account is inoperable because of their annual audit. The message is sent using an email address very similar to the agent’s address. Details of a different bank account are given for the payment. By the time the agent reports that the pro-forma disbursement account has not been paid, the fraudsters have already stolen the money.

ITIC emphasises that anybody who receive messages alleging that the payee’s bank account has changed should be wary of the possibility of a scam and take separate steps to verify the instructions.

ITIC is managed by Thomas Miller. More details about the club and the services it offers can be found on ITIC’s website at www.itic-insure.com

For more information:
Charlotte Kirk
Tel. +44 (0)20 7338 0150
Fax. +44 (0)20 7338 0151

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Friday, 16 May 2014

London P&I Club reports increased free reserves

THE London P&I Club’s result for the 2013/2014 financial year produced an overall surplus of $6.6m, increasing the free reserve to $160.6m.

There was an increase in P&I claims costs within the club’s retained layers in the financial year. The club’s management team notes that this was driven by an increase in the cost of claims in the higher-severity bands, which overshadowed an encouraging outturn for claims within the lower-severity layers, particularly at the day-to-day attritional level.

There was a reduction in the level of claims involving the International Group Pool compared to the very high levels recorded for 2011/2012 and 2012/2013, although the cost remained relatively high.

In the year to 20 February 2014, the London Club recorded a return on invested assets and cash of approximately $24.4m, or 7.0 per cent, reflecting positive performance across each major asset class, in particular the equity component of the portfolio.

Over the course of the policy year there was steady growth in the entry of ships with the club, from existing as well as from new members based in countries which included China, Greece, Singapore, Turkey, and the UK.

Going into the current policy year, the club’s owned mutual entry had increased by approximately 2m gt to 43.1m gt, in addition to which the charterers’ facility continues to perform steadily.


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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Bureau Veritas speeds CSR-H implementation

Leading international classification society Bureau Veritas has completed a series of consequence assessments with all the major shipyards in Korea, China and Japan to help them speed the implementation of the IACS Harmonised Common Structural Rules. The assessments of current yard designs were made using BV’s fully adapted suites of user-friendly software for structural analysis, MARS2000 and VeriSTAR Hull.


Christophe Chauviere, head of the development department for Bureau Veritas’ Marine and Offshore division, says, “Because BV played a leading role in the harmonisation of the IACS Common Structural Rules we were able to rapidly update our software for the new standards. As our software tools are not class-specific and many yards already use our tools we were able to help them check out their designs and adjust them to be ready for the entry into force on July 1, 2015.”


MARS2000 is BV’s tool for 2D prescriptive requirements assessment. It is free of charge and free access and its fast and user-friendly input process allow quick assessments of designs against the new harmonised rules. BV has invested heavily in training across its network to ensure local offices can support yards wherever they are.


MARS 2000 delivers assessment of global yielding, ultimate and residual strength criteria, local scantling minimums including yielding and buckling of strakes, longitudinal and transverse stiffeners for cross sections and bulkheads, fatigue calculations of connections between longitudinal stiffeners and primary structure, assessment of the side frames and grab loads for bulk carriers and assessment of the primary supporting members ring for oil tankers.


“We made it easy for the yards by simplifying conversion of databases for the separate CSR rules for tankers and bulkers into a CSR-H database with the necessary extra data,” explains Chauviere.


VeriSTAR Hull is the BV rule tool for performing analysis of three dimensional models by finite element calculation. VeriSTAR Hull is already available and compliant with the last version of CSR-H including new requirements concerning buckling, aft most - foremost cargo hold assessment and fatigue check. “During the CSR-H implementation in VeriSTAR Hull, based on our experience of CSRs, a lot of attention has been given to adapting the tools to reduce the time needed for pre and post processing,” says Chauviere. “Yards need to react quickly to new design requirements and these tools deliver rapid and thorough assessment fully compliant with CSR-H. It is the attention to ease of use and speed which makes them stand out.”


For a graphic of VeriSTAR Hull in use please email john@merlinco.com or go to http://bit.ly/pYqIVs

·       Bureau Veritas is a world leader in conformity assessment and certification services. Created in 1828, the Group has 61,000 employees in around 1,330 offices and laboratories located in 140 countries. Bureau Veritas helps its clients to improve their performance by offering services and innovative solutions in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.


www.bureauveritas.com for corporate information                              www.veristar.com for marine information


For more information:

Christophe Chauviere
Bureau Veritas
+33(0)1 55 24 74 10
Philippe Boisson
Bureau Veritas
+33 (0)1 55 24 71 98

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Friday, 2 May 2014

LISCR appoints new general manager for London

The Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, has appointed Robert Twell as general manager of its dedicated London office, in succession to Jonathan Spremulli.

Robert Twell joins LISCR from CMA Ships UK Ltd/CMA CGM Group, where he was the Safety and Security Manager and DPA/CSO based in London. Prior to that he was with the National Sea Training Centre, a leading provider of maritime education and practical training, where he was Head of Department in Marine Studies and Fire Fighting. Robert also has extensive seagoing experience as a deck officer with, among others, Carnival UK, and Stena Ferries.

David Pascoe, Head of Maritime Operations & Standards at LISCR, says, “Robert’s expertise in safety, security, health, environmental and quality policy covering a wide range of vessels ideally suits him for the manager’s role in London, as does his experience of dealing with masters, internal managers, flag and port state control and class societies,. In addition to the traditional responsibilities of the London office, Robert will focus a significant amount of his time at the IMO in co-ordination with myself and the Permanent Representative and staff of the Liberian Permanent Mission.”

Robert Twell says, “I am excited to be joining the most innovative and proactive ship registry in the world. And I am looking forward to the challenge of using my industry knowledge and experience to the benefit of the Liberian Registry’s continually expanding client base.”

The Liberian Registry is one of the world’s largest and most active shipping registers, and has long been considered the world’s most technologically advanced maritime administration. It has a long-established track record of combining the highest standards of safety for vessels and crews with the highest levels of responsive service to owners. www.liscr.com

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Thursday, 1 May 2014

ITIC highlights risk of innocent ship agents being sued

ITIC highlights risk of innocent ship agents being sued

ITIC has reminded ship agents and other shipping and transport intermediaries that, in today’s highly competitive industry, they run the risk of being sued even when they are not at fault.

In the latest issue of its Claims Review, ITIC reports the case of a ship agent which was named as a second defendant by cargo interests in a claim for damage to significant quantities of imported aluminium. The ship agent had not been involved with the damage to the cargo, but had merely been included in the legal proceedings.

ITIC, on behalf of the ship agent, requested that the shipowner instruct its lawyers to include the defence of the ship agent’s interests, along with those of the owner. The owner’s P&I club agreed to defend the ship agent, and a judgement was handed down in favour of the defendants. But the judgement was appealed and then overturned. In the meantime, the shipowner went into administration and the P&I club was no longer in a position to support the claim.

ITIC instructed the lawyer to continue defending the ship agent. The case was then heard by an appeal court which found in favour of the claimants. This decision was appealed in the Supreme Court, which passed judgement confirming that the case filed against the agent lacked substance. The total costs incurred amounted to $95,000.

ITIC says, “This claim shows the high price of proving innocence. As with a number of claims seen by ITIC, this example illustrates the fact that you don’t need to make a mistake to be sued and you could find yourself on the receiving end of legal proceedings, even if you are not at fault.”

Copies of the ITIC Claim Review can be requested from: chris@merlinco.com
If you wish to discuss your

ITIC is managed by Thomas Miller. More details about the club and the services it offers can be found on ITIC’s website at www.itic-insure.com

For more information:
Charlotte Kirk
Tel. +44 (0)20 7338 0150
Fax. +44 (0)20 7338 0151

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