02 JUN 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing. It presents major challenges to seafarers and shipowners due to the lockdown of countries, travel restrictions, changes in local regulations, problems accessing healthcare ashore when needed, and worries if crewmembers develop COVID-19-like symptoms while at sea. In some countries and regions, the infection numbers are still rising while in others, the infection rate is declining with many countries and regions slowly opening to greater human interaction. One of the critical features in addressing the pandemic as well as easing lockdown has been testing for the disease. Gard receives many questions about the use of tests, and has sought the assistance and expertise of doctors at the Norwegian Centre for Maritime and Diving Medicine to help answer some of the questions.
28 MAY 2020
In this article, we interview Torunn Biller White, Gard’s Chief Risk Officer and talk about how Gard manages risk and the methodology for identifying emerging risks in the medium and long term.
14 MAY 2020
COVID – 19 lockdown and social distancing rules and recommendations have made traditional legal proceedings all but impossible. Rather than postpone court hearings, arbitrations and mediations, video streaming platforms have been pressed into service. Gard lawyers, Louis Shepherd and Fredrik Falck-Knutsen review the practices in various jurisdictions and comment concerning their own experiences with the technology.
The Jones Act, United States federal legislation enacted a century ago, provides significant remedies for those who can establish “seaman” status. Our personal injury specialist, Art Gribbin, takes us through the recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Sanchez v. Smart Fabricators of Texas, that further clarified the Jones Act requirements in the context of contracted work in the offshore industry.
27 APR 2020
The United States Supreme Court granted the application of industry groups, BIMCO, Intertanko and Intercargo to file an Amicus Curiae brief in the recently decided case Citgo Asphalt Refining Co. v. Frescati Shipping Co., Ltd., (Athos l). Amicus briefs are prepared by non-parties to the dispute in order to set out argument and legal authority relevant to the case under review. The lawyers representing BIMCO, Intertanko and Intercargo, Chris Nolan and Robert Denig of Holland and Knight LLC, share their advice to those negotiating charter parties subject to U.S. law when considering safe port and berth clauses. In this time of pandemic, the authors also consider the Supreme Court’s decision in the context of a Master’s implicit right to refuse a charterer’s order to enter a port the Master considers unsafe.
We are facing unprecedented worldwide lockdown and severe travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several thousand seafarers have been asked to extend their contracts beyond their usual tour of duty. Kunal Pathak, Loss Prevention Manager in Gard’s Singapore office, writes about maintaining the mental wellness of the seafarers during the current challenging times. Kunal is a Master Mariner and has particular insight into life at sea as he sailed for twelve years on oil tankers and bulk carriers.
Last month, Gard was notified by several of our correspondents that they had received an unusual e-mail from our CEO asking for details about outstanding payments. Security Advisor, Eili Bjelkåsen, in our Technology and Security department tells the story. Knowing how fraudsters operate is key to understanding how to protect yourself and your company.
While the IMO has given shipowners and operators until 2021 to incorporate cyber risk into ships’ safety management systems, cyber criminals are already at work. Crises like the COVID-19 pandemic often lead malicious cyber actors to take advantage through various malicious methods.
The U.S. Supreme Court on March 30th issued its decision in Citgo Asphalt Refining Co. (‘Carco’), et al. v. Frescati Shipping Co., Ltd. et al. (the ‘Athos I’ case), affirming the Third Circuit Court of Appeals holding that CARCO as sub-charterer was responsible, via the ‘safe berth’ clause in its sub-charter, to the vessel owner to indemnify for all of the costs of a major pollution cleanup. The case is a cautionary tale of the wording of clauses which may apply to a party that is in the ‘chain’ of charter parties but was not an actual signatory to the contract containing the clause in question.
One of the frequent questions coming to Gard Defence Lawyers is whether the COVID-19 pandemic falls within the various charterparty force majeure clauses. We are grateful to Brian Perrott, partner with HFW, and his colleagues for sharing their views.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the maritime industry in previously unthinkable ways. Ports around the world are denying entry to certain vessels, travel restrictions have postponed crew changes, ships are taken out of service and crew have been laid off. These operational problems are forcing some owners and operators to consider placing vessels in lay-up.
24 MAR 2020
These days Gard employees are working remotely across our offices around the globe. Sandra Guiguet in our Hong Kong office shared her thoughts with Gard colleagues that may apply equally to our Members and clients as they too find themselves working remotely. We are pleased to share her advice.
23 MAR 2020
Vessels navigating in South Korean waters often come into contact with fishing nets, seaweed farms or other aquaculture facilities resulting in expensive claims.
Automation, digitalization and the use of ships’ data is today having a big impact on the maritime industry. While there is no doubt that cyber is a major growing risk in this area, there is, however, still a more common, less hyped and maybe growing type of shipboard technology related risk that should not be forgotten - the reliability, breakdown and no fault found failure of electronics.
Class-approved cold straightening of bent shafts may save time and money compared to replacement with new shafts.
24 FEB 2020
ALSO AVAILABLE IN JAPANESE/和訳 (PDF)
The Lloyd’s Open Form salvage contract (LOF) has been in use for more than a century. It provides for salvage services on a “no cure-no pay” basis with an award for success based on the values of the property saved. Our guest author, Johnson Chiu, compares the LOF to national salvage forms, BIMCO forms for towage and wreck removal and ISU forms. He concludes that the LOF will remain an important contract when the crew, the ship and the environment are in imminent peril yet technology and communication advances make consideration of other contracts attractive to shipowners for minor casualties that do not immediately put the crew, vessel or environment at risk. We thank Mr. Chiu for his contribution to Insight and remind our readers that the author’s views are his own.
18 FEB 2020
Recent attention has been focused on the reduction of the global sulphur cap from 3.50% to 0.50% - but don’t forget there are lower sulphur level requirements in designated MARPOL emission control areas and areas defined by regional governmental entities. Here is a round-up of such areas.
13 FEB 2020
ALSO AVAILABLE IN JAPANESE/和訳 (PDF)
The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus 2019) outbreak is a headline news story. At the moment, 99% of all confirmed cases are in China but cases are being reported elsewhere in Asia and beyond. More information on the disease, symptoms and precautions relating to the prevention of its spread is available on the website of the World Health Organization (WHO). Additional information on some of the virus’ implications for ships and crew is also available on Gard’s website.
Mental health is an important component of physical wellbeing aboard ship. Yet seafarers have often suffered mental distress alone and isolated due to the stigma attached to mental illness and the lack of understanding in how to react to a seafarer in crisis. In this third of our series of articles on mental health of seafarers, Sandra Guiguet shares her personal experience and training in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and how 12 hours of training can make a difference.
09 JAN 2020
ALSO AVAILABLE IN JAPANESE/和訳 (PDF)
Bunker fuel is a commodity and, like all commodities, is produced and sold according to specifications. Bunkers are usually tested by suppliers and purchasers to confirm that the they meet the sale specification. Bunkers may also be tested by Flag State or Port State Control authorities to determine if they meet the MARPOL Annex VI sulphur limits.