US Bodily Injury News November 2011
guidance to shipowners highlighting the due diligence that should be conducted when choosing a security company. In addition, it is important to have a contract in place. There are a variety of different contractual arrangements in use between shipowners and security companies. The contract may contain an obligation to provide insurance cover, it may contain indemnity or hold harmless provisions with respect to consequential damages. At a minimum, there is an expectation that the contract will contain reciprocal indemnities for liabilities arising from negligence, also known as ‘knock-for-knock’.
Members are strongly encouraged to consult with the Club before entering an agreement with a security company so that they can be advised of any gaps or restrictions on cover.
The Club’s experience with piracy to date
Fortunately, the Club has only been involved in a relatively small number of cases. A log is being maintained in the London office of all piracy related claims, principally to ensure consistency of approach in the handling of such claims
What we have learned thus far
Ships that have been hijacked have been detained for periods ranging from six weeks to eight months, and usually there are no armed guards on board.
There has been an escalation in the level of violence by the pirates towards crew through threatened use of firearms and other violent assaults.
How the Club assists in the aftermath of a pirate attack
The Club correspondent at Salalah, Oman has considerable experience in handling such incidents and has a particular expertise in looking after the crew and their needs post incident in terms of medical care and assistance.
The Club will, when asked to do so, work closely with the Member’s appointed experts in arranging for the crew to be medically assessed and evaluated immediately. The Club will usually arrange for a consultant clinical psychologist to attend and assist with psychological evaluations and assessments of the crew.
The IG has continued to support the development of the cross-industry Humanitarian Response Programme.Th
e programme is designed to mitigate the risk of piracy induced trauma. At its core are good practice guidelines for shipping companies and manning agencies to help seafarers and families cope with the physical and mental trauma caused by torture and abuse at the hands of pirates.
The programme talks about:
How seafarers can be supported by their companies
Preparation for coping during crisis Preparation and training for when an incident occurs
What to do when ship is under attack What happens or may happen when the ship is captured and the crew are held hostage
Preparation for when the ship is released Dealing with the practical needs of the seafarer The practical needs of the seafarer when they return home and ongoing and follow up care
These kinds of policies and procedures can help to mitigate potential claims. In addition, early payment of compensation to the crew can help to mitigate potential claims for stress and trauma.
What the shipowner should do
In the short term, the shipowner should ensure that it has in place policies and procedures to meet its early duty of care obligations to the officers and crew and family members affected by the incident.
One month after the date of the ship’s officers and crew’s return home, there should be a follow-up with all concerned to see if any problems related to the piracy incident have manifested themselves.
If practicable, a simple monitoring system should be put in place to monitor future work performance and work related adjustments of those involved in the piracy event to see if any unexpected problems arise.
A Humanitarian Response Programme
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