Legal issues, piracy and sanctions top ship owners’ list of concerns

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Legal and contractual issues, piracy and crime and international sanctions are the most important areas of concern to merchant ship owners, this according to the latest member survey from the UK P&I Club. Crewing and personnel; insurance regulation; loss prevention; environmental legislation; shipboard risk management; cargo preparation and stowage and port state control were also key concerns for ship owners.

Consequently, owners want information and advice from their P&I clubs on how to tackle the problems associated with these areas. Their priorities have been revealed by the UK P&I Club’s latest member survey.

As one of the world’s largest marine mutuals, the UK P&I Club’s 122 million gross tons of international merchant shipping provides a representative cross section of the industry. Some 259 people from among its member ship owners and their insurance brokers were interviewed, spread globally in relation to all major ship types and vessel ages.

Members indicated that financial stability was the most important aspect of their relationship with any P&I club. This was followed by speedy claims resolution, strong working relationships, comprehensive loss prevention and risk management advice, understanding members’ business priorities, an extensive office and correspondents’ network, high quality executives and avoidance of unbudgeted calls.

Nick Whitear, Director at UK Club managers Thomas Miller, explained: “The aim of our survey has been to identify and understand the issues that really concern our members and those aspects of service and performance which are most important to them. The Club was very pleased with such a high level of participation across such a wide range of ship types, trade sectors, regional and international trades and corporate organisations.

“We are committed to being the leading ship owner-controlled provider of protection & indemnity insurance and place great value on the opinions of our members about how we can extend and enhance what we do for them. However, a survey can only tell us part of the story, so we are always listening to our members’ views in all our dealings with them.”

Overall, the UK Club scored a 96% satisfaction rating from its ship owner members who recognised a consistently high level of performance. Over 80% declared their contact with the Club’s underwriting and claims staff was “just right.”

The UK Club publishes extensive materials on areas and issues raised by members, which are variously available in print and on its website –

The Club has worked closely with the International Group of P&I Clubs to create detailed guidance on piracy and international sanctions. An updated edition of Frequently Asked Questions—and matching responses—on piracy was published on the Club website in August. These FAQs reflected the greater incidence of piracy and other violent crimes against ships and seafarers off the Gulf of Guinea coast. FAQs on US sanctions against Iran have also been recently revised.

The Club has issued publications on handling dangerous cargoes in containers; environmental compliance in relation to ballast water management; and compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention which took effect on 21st August.

The survey was undertaken independently by research firm Firebrand Insight under the codes of conduct of The Market Research Society and ESOMAR, the World Research Federation.