“To help our Members and clients in the marine industries to manage risk and its consequences”

Our core purpose expresses what we have done in the past and what we will do in the future. Our role is not just to provide risk capital,  but to support our clients in all aspects of risk management, not least in the handling of accidents and crises.

Knowledge and expertise
The aim of our actions in an emergency situation is to prevent and reduce loss, injury, pollution and other consequences of the incident. We have gained extensive experience with crisis management, both from actual casualties and through training exercises. In addition to the crisis management experience gained from past casualties, the language skills of our claims handlers combined with their maritime, naval, environmental and legal expertise will all be brought to the handling of the incident.

24 hour crisis response service
Experienced employees man our 24/7 duty phone. Our offices located in several time zones and geographical regions are ready to assist at a moment’s notice. Our claims handlers may attend on-site and will offer to send staff to the clients’ offices if beneficial to the client.

We have a network of carefully selected independent partners, such as local correspondents, surveyors or lawyers able to provide local knowledge and assistance where needed. Gard has a long tradition of and experience in cooperating with government and industry bodies as well as national support centres.

A crisis is typically an incident where lives are at risk, or that may lead to significant environmental damage, or loss of or severe damage to the ship and/or cargo. Gard will apply the principle of “prudent overreaction” in a crisis. This simply means that the amount of resources that will be dedicated to the incident is in line with a potential worst case scenario to ensure that the incident is handled timely, proactively and professionally.

Should the incident be sufficiently serious, we will mobilise in line with our Crisis Management Plan. This involves a trained and carefully selected group working from Gard’s contingency room to respond to the crisis. The crisis response is normally led from Gard’s head office in Arendal, where most of the contingency staff be at the office within 30 minutes of the alert call.

Recommended priorities


Handle the crisis by following the “PEA” approach – prioritise People, Environment, Assets, in that order. In the majority of cases, first verify the safety of the crew. 


Inform the liability and property insurers and the appropriate authorities if not already done. Report the facts only and do not speculate as to the possible cause(s) of the incident. 


Preserve all information and documentsrelevant to the incident. The list will be long, but information and documents on board the vessel will be important in the further handling of the case. In particular, the VDR data must be preserved.   Control access to the crew and the vessel;only visitors with permission or authority to board the vessel should be allowed on board. The pressure can be strong from media and others during the initial phase to provide comments and access. If in doubt, seek advice.

 Additional information on Crisis Management can be found in our publication Gard Guidance to Maritime Claims and Insurance.