ITIC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Club has announced the retirement of Erik Nes from its Board. Mr. Nes retired at the meeting in London in March 2005 after 10 years as a Director of ITIC. He was presented with an inscribed fountain pen by the Club’s new Chairman, Mr. Harry Gilbert. Mr. Nes had been with the Wilhelmsen Group since the late ‘60s and was President of Barwil A/S from 1990 to 2005.
CIRCULAR ON SWITCH BILLS OF LADING
As a result of a spate of very large claims against ship agents by banks, ship owners and shippers, resulting from the issuance of a second set of bills of lading without retrieving the first set, the Club issued a warning circular in 2004 headed “Issuance of Switch Bills of Lading”. The circular is available on the Club’s website.
PROPOSED NEW SHIPPING ACT IN SPAIN
Carlos Perez, a partner in a leading shipping firm in Madrid, advises that, although Spain’s shipping legislation has remained largely unchanged since 1885, in early 2005, the Ministry of Justice in Madrid presented a proposed pre-draft of a new Shipping Act. This Act introduces not only new rules on matters such as oil pollution (in the light of the PRESTIGE incident) but also tries to resolve recurring problems in Spanish shipping law. One of these concerns the liability of ship agents for cargo claims. Spanish law has lacked consistency on this issue and ship agents have either been found liable, or released from liability, for cargo claims at different times in the past. The pre-draft intends to resolve this problem by providing that ship agents will not be liable for cargo loss, damage or delay, unless caused by their own fault. The Ministry intends to send the pre-draft to Parliament in the Autumn of 2005 for discussion, and aims to have the new Act passed before the next Spanish general election. We will keep Members up-dated on developments.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS POSING AS CREW
The problem of illegal immigrant smugglers trying to involve ship agents by pretending that the illegal immigrants are crew members joining ships continues. Any Member who needs more information on this should refer to the Club’s website. To date, more than 120 incidents have been notified to the Club, although we are pleased to advise that none of the ship agent Members of ITIC have been mis-led recently and we hope that this is due, in no small measure, to the Club continuing to flag this danger.
Ship agents should therefore not relax their guard. Most of the cases reported to the Club in the past year are fairly unremarkable, but one unusual case involved an agent in Spain. A Bangladeshi shipping company asked the agent to arrange a crew change on one of their ships. Surprisingly, shortly after informing ITIC of this suspicious case, the agent received another message from Bangladesh, from a party describing themselves as “ITIC Bangladesh”, warning the agent that the crews were illegal immigrants. Alarmingly, this unidentified party also claimed that the crew members were “fanatic islamic militants”. ITIC does not, of course, have an office in Bangladesh and we believe that this unsolicited warning to the ship agent may have been the result of a dispute between crew smuggling gangs. We would ask our Members to continue to send reports of these smuggling cases to us so that we can continue to monitor them.
MONEY LAUNDERING SEMINAR
ITIC hosted a seminar for London ship brokers in January 2005 on the issue of Money Laundering Regulations. The speakers were Andrew Ottley and Paul Herring, both of whom are partners in Ince & Co.
CIRCULAR ON DEMURRAGE TIME BARS
There is an increasing tendency for principals to adopt a policy for demurrage claims to be sent electronically. This move to e-mail will save courier costs but is not without pitfalls. As you will read elsewhere in this publication, email can be unreliable and the Club will be issuing a circular in September giving advice and loss prevention information on this subject. The circular will be available on the Club’s website.
STANDARD TERMS FOR SURVEYORS AND CONSULTANTS
Intermediary 2001 contained an extensive article by Dominic Ward of AMJ on the benefits for marine surveyors and consultants of the use of standard terms and conditions. Following consultation with a number of industry bodies, ITIC produced a set of draft clauses for members to consider using. Both the article and the terms are available in the publications section of www.itic-insure.com.
The ITIC website will be changing in the Autumn. Although the content will be largely the same, it will be easier to access and navigate.
There will be two new sections, “Reporting a claim to ITIC” and “Electronic information service”. The reporting a claim area will guide Members and their insurance brokers through what to do in the event of a claim.
The electronic information service will provide a form to complete, to allow you register for online information updates. This has been constructed to allow us to forward more of our information to a wider group of Members as quickly as possible.