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ITIC (and its predecessors - TIM and CISBA) has had a long and loyal relationship with the members in Spain. Some of ITIC’s Spanish members have been insured with ITIC for over 25 years. There are 75 members in Spain who comprise 5% of ITIC's membership. The members in Spain have a range of exposures which the team at ITIC and its representative office in Spain, Correduria General Maritima, are here to support you through, whether it’s the New Ports Act or the implications of the Rotterdam Rules, which Spain has recently ratified. This publication is to introduce you to the team and to highlight some of the issues ITIC is seeing from Spain at the moment.

Team Spain

Two new appointments at ITIC highlight the continuing commitment to Spanish Members at ITIC.

Tom Irving has recently joined ITIC and has been appointed to lead the service provided to ITIC's members in Spain. Tom has a good understanding of Spanish and has recently joined the team at ITIC from Thomas Miller Sydney, where he handled claims for ITIC as well as other Thomas Miller-managed Clubs, the UK P&I Club and the TT Club. Tom has experience in handling a wide range of claims including personal injury, property damage, cargo damage and professional indemnity matters. He also has underwriting experience having spent a year in the Sydney TT Club underwriting team. Tom has degrees in Law and Arts from Victoria University in New Zealand and is admitted as a solicitor in New Zealand and Australia. He is looking forward to working with ITIC's Spanish members.

Kevin Sandom will be working closely with Tom in support of the service provided to ITIC's members in Spain. Kevin is a senior account executive and has four years claims and underwriting experience at ITIC, mainly working with ITIC's members in South America and other areas. Kevin has an understanding of the Spanish language which he is continuing to develop. Prior to working at ITIC Kevin had worked for 20 years as a senior claims executive at the UK P&I Club and he brings a wealth of claims experience to his underwriting role. Kevin has a wide and detailed knowledge of damage to ship and cargo claims and enjoys working with the Members in Spain. Kevin has also gained experience by working on secondment in various roles at different Shipowner's and Correspondent's offices, as well as having previously worked in the Thomas Miller Miami office.

Correduria General Maritima are based in Bilbao and have been ITIC’s representative office in Spain for over 25 years. They can trace their roots back to 1899, when they started business as the Spanish office of Lloyd’s Brokers, Harris & Dixon in Spain. They became Correduria General Maritima in 1939 and are currently run by the third generation of the same family, the Lachiondos. They have a wide and detailed knowledge of insurance, ship agency and shipbroking due to the length of time they have been in business and their connections with Britannia P&I Club.

Jon Lachiondo heads the team at Correduria General Maritima. He is assisted by Carmen Miranda, Eva Ciordia and Pedro Mendezona. Although Jon was involved in the development of ITIC business in the early 1990s, it is Pedro who is now responsible for ITIC’s business, looking after both the Member’s and the Club’s interests. The daily work of Correduria General Maritima is as if ITIC is in Spain, providing direct assistance to all the Members, lawyers and insurance brokers.

Correduria General Maritima are pleased to assist in any ITIC enquiries and would welcome any visitors to their offices in Getxo, by the sea, just 15 minutes from the centre of Bilbao.

The new Spanish Ports Act

The new Spanish Ports Act has recently been approved with the support of the majority of the members of the Congress (302 votes in favour out of 327 votes) after years of discussion between the political parties and all economic and social groups involved.

The Ports Act is a long awaited reform for a crucial sector in the Spanish economy. Spanish ports handle 85% of imports and 50% of exports, provide employment to more than 145,000 people (direct and indirect jobs), and constitutes 1.1 % of the Spanish gross domestic income.

The Ports Act is intended to make Spanish ports more competitive, efficient and eco-friendly (the Act puts a great emphasis on environmental sustainability). The Act will reduce the costs of port operations and will grant the local port authorities more autonomy in terms of tariffs by offering reductions and bonuses, which will make them more competitive on both a domestic and intermational scale.

Stevedoring services have deserved a special attention due to their importance in the daily running of the ports. Under the Act, Spanish stevedoring services are expected to become more competitive and cost-efficient.

With regard to ship agents, it should be noted that under the Act the ship agents will continue to be liable for the payment of port dues/tariffs in the event that the owner, the ship manager or the Master fail to pay them. This imposes a heavy burden on ship agents and they must ensure that they are always provided with sufficient funds in advance in order to avoid the risk of being left with outstanding disbursements accounts.

Spain is recognised as an important worldwide hub due to its unique and strategic geographical location. The new Act comes at a crucial time when the financial crisis is affecting dramatically all sectors of the economy and, hence, the new legal framework is expected to become an important milestone for the Spanish port sector.

Our thanks go to Carlos Perez, Socio Partner at PEREZ ALBORS & CO ABOGADOS Maritime and Commercial Lawyers

Spain becomes the first country to ratify the Rotterdam Rules

“The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea”, better known as the “Rotterdam Rules” was adopted by the UN General Council in December 2008. The Rotterdam Rules are designed to replace the various liability regimes governing transportation of goods currently in existence, including the Hague, Hague Visby and Hamburg Rules. On 23 September 2009 Spain was among the 17 states, which also include Denmark, France, Greece, Holland, Norway, Poland and the USA, who signed the Rotterdam Rules at the UN Ceremony in Rotterdam.

Since that date another six countries have also signed on but Spain is the only country to have “ratified” the new Convention by giving it domestic approval. In January 2011, Spain became the first nation to formally ratify the Rotterdam Rules with the United Nations, having given domestic approval for the new regime on 19 January 2011.

The Rotterdam Rules will not come into force until twelve months after the 20th state has formally ratified them, so the implementation is not expected any time soon. Now that the Spain has led the way, other nations will no doubt follow suit.

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