A SHIP MANAGER received a formal notice of claim from a firm of solicitors representing a ship’s engineer. The letter of claim explained that this gentlemen had been employed by the ship manager some 30 years previously when he was required to maintain boilers on various ships which included cutting into and removing asbestos used for cladding and covering pipes in the engine room. As a result of asbestos dust in the surrounding atmosphere, it was claimed that the engineer had recently been diagnosed as suffering from a respiratory illness. ITIC immediately replied to the claimant’s solicitors pointing out that the engineer had in fact been employed by the owners of the ship in question, rather than by the ship managers. Nevertheless, the solicitors representing the engineer persisted with their claim.
On further investigation, ITIC located a firm of solicitors who were handling the collective defense of this claim on the part of a number of co-defendants for whom this gentleman had worked for at sea over previous years. ITIC obtained a copy of the engineers discharge book which revealed the names of the various ship owners who employed him but which did not include ITIC’s ship manager Member. In further dialogue, the claimant’s solicitors were persuaded of the limited involvement on the part of the ship manager and the claim was dropped. ITIC paid the legal defense costs.