Steamship Mutual warns against dropping crew numbers

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Leading P&I Club Steamship Mutual has described the P&I Market as being at a crossroads and has warned that that, unless the inadequacies in the maritime infrastructure are addressed as a matter of urgency, claims will remain at or above current levels for as long as global shipping demand remains buoyant.

 James Stockdale, CEO of the Club’s Managers said the chronic shortage of skilled and experienced crew remained the most pressing problem. “Attracting and recruiting a new generation of skilled seamen is being made even more difficult by those states that are seeking to make political capital out of criminalising seafarers for actions that in other industries would be treated as simple mistakes.”

Steamship Mutual celebrated record levels of financial success in its 2008 Management Highlights, attaining an overall operating surplus of $27.6 million, with free reserves rising to their highest ever level by 17.5%. The highlights stressed the vital role played by the Club’s loss prevention initiatives in facilitating Members’ control over claims exposures. An overall combined ratio of 97.9% was achieved for the financial year producing a three year average of 108.3%, despite a dubious forecast of the future P&I Market.

Commenting on the positive outcome and foreseeing a promising future for the Club, Mr Stockdale said: “Steamship Mutual’s progress over the past year is a tribute to the Club’s robust policy of disciplined and targeted underwriting, prudent financial management and effective loss prevention. The Club has laid a sound foundation for steady future growth but long term stability and financial strength remains our overriding priorities”.