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The National Association of Marine Surveyors

 

The NAMSGlobal eNews

July 1, 2009

A version of this NAMS eNews was published in an electronic message sent on or about July 1, 2009.

Greetings Website Visitor.

 

NAMSGlobal eNews
Greg Weeter, NAMS-CMS, Editor

editor@namsglobal.org

William C. Hansen, President
Richard L. Frenzel, Vice-President
Edward L. Shearer, Secretary
James A. Neville, Treasurer

In This Issue

President's Message

National Office Message

NAMS Applicants

Upcoming Events

NAMS Members enjoy ABYC Special Pricing

New Book By Les Lester

Maritime Safety Bill

Fractured Propeller Shafts

Babel Fish Translation Software

US Property & Casualty Market

Marine Safety Alert Compact Fluorescent Lights

Cargo Ships Treading Water

Cocaine Submarine Armada

Heavy Lift Club Formed

Piracy Alert

Cargo: How Does One Know

Breach of Captain Warranty Bars Recovery

Ship Valuations

Salvage Law

Inherent Vice

Loss Control

Interesting Links

 

 

President’s Message

NAMSGlobal will be holding its 48th National Conference West Conference on October 11 – 13 at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle. Our 2001 conference was held at this very same location. It is a lovely location, and I strongly recommend that you bring your spouse. Mr. Jerry Edwards, Vice President, North Pacific States is coordinating the event. I know from experience, the hardest portion of the event is obtaining speakers. If you can assist, please call Jerry.

Also, it is once again time for elections. Ghulam Suhrawardi is the chairman of the Nominating Committee and he is responsible for working with four other members of the Board of Directors in obtaining candidates for the offices of National President and national Vice-President. As you are all aware, the events of the last year brought great strain to this organization. I am hoping that candidates for these positions will look forward to the health and expansion of this organization, setting aside any personal feelings. Remember, this is our organization! If any of you would like to pursue a National Office, now is the time to act. Please let Ghulam know your intentions and desires.

We recently had a new member ballot and we want to welcome these members into the organization. One significant event for these potential members is that they are Cargo and Hull & Machinery surveyors. This type of expansion, outside of the normal Yacht and Small Craft applicants, demonstrates that NAMSGlobal is healthy and growing.

This will be a short message, but I wish all of you the very best and have a safe and enjoyable summer.

William C Hansen, NAMS-CMS, National President

 

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National Office Message

Surveyor Members, if you have CE Credits for 2009 which you have not yet sent to the National Office, please go ahead and submit them.

Also, please check your personal profile information on the NAMSGlobal website (www.namsglobal.org) to be sure it is up-to-date. If there is any incorrect or out-dated information, please email the national office with your current personal profile information.

Thanks.

 

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NAMS Applicants, New Members, Changes In Status & Committee Assignments

New Applicants
Name Applying For Region Sponsor
Arthur Kittelsen CMS N. England Doug Mentuck
Scot Burford CMS W. Gulf Steven Weiss
James Phillip CMS W. Gulf William Duval
Gary L. Rankin CMS E. Gulf Norm Dufour
Paul J. Campbell Associate N. England A. Theriault, G. Leonard, & K. Harris
Douglas Alling Apprentice C. Atlantic Jack Hornor

 

Members elected July 1, 2009
Certified Members
Name Discipline Region Sponsor
Iqbal Kazi Cargo W. Gulf Shankar Panday
Nicholas Paternostro H&M E. Gulf Paul Deister
Arnold Lachmann H&M E. Gulf Norm Dufour
Jeff Millard Cargo W. Gulf Steve Hale

 

Associate Members
Name Discipline Region Sponsor
Brook Alderfer Y&SC C. Pacific John Strong, Ted Crosby, Leroy Lester
Richard Trainor Y&SC N. England Jamie Theriault, Steve Bunnell, Neil Rosen

 

Members Change In Status
Name Region Change In Status
Kelly Pulsifer, NAMS-CMS S. Atlantic Retiring, December 31, 2008
James Simonitsch, NAMS-CMS N. England Retiring, July 1, 2009
Charles McCardell, NAMS-CMS C. Pacific Resigned
Phil Peterson, NAMS-CMS G. Lakes Return to Active Status (Inactive since January 2009)

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Upcoming Events

September 16-19, 2009
Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) International Education Symposium, Houston, TX, Website: www.marinesurvey.org

September 20-22, 2009
Houston Marine Insurance Seminar, Westin Oaks, contact steve.weiss@libertyiu.com Website: http://www.houstonmarineseminar.com/program_info.htm

October 11 - 13, 2009
NAMSGlobal, 41st Annual National Marine Conference West, Seattle, Washington. Conference theme: New Tools & Techniques for Marine Surveyors. Conference Chair, Jerry Edwards, NAMS-CMS. Look for further details on the NAMSGlobal website: http://www.namsglobal.org/events/ Venue: The Edgewater Hotel City Side Room Rate: $155.00 plus taxes, 2411 Alaskan Way, Pier 67, Seattle, Washington 98121 Direct reservations: 206.728.7000 or central reservations 800.624.0670

In order to receive the special group rates that have been made available, you will need to call the hotel by Wednesday, September 9, 2009 and identify the name and dates of the event.

March 11-14, 2010
American Society of Appraisers is planning on giving the ME 208 Marine Equipment Appraisal course in San Francisco, California. It will be put on by the local ASA chapter. Details will be posted on ASA, NAMS and SAMS sites.

April 25 - 27, 2010
NAMSGlobal 48th Annual National Marine Conference East. Conference theme: In Pursuit of Excellence. Conference Chair, Janet Peck, NAMS-CMS. Location: The Embassy Suites Historic Charleston, 337 Meeting Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29403. Room rate $179.00 plus taxes per night for a 2-Room Suite. Please visit the NAMSGlobal website (www.namsglobal.org/events/) for more information.

Reservations phone 843.723.6900. In order to receive the special group rates, you will need to make your room reservation by Wednesday, March 24, 2010, and identify the group and dates of the events. NAMS Group Code: NMS

 

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NAMS Members Are Able To Join ABYC Anytime At A Special Price!

NAMS members are some of ABYC’s best members. We want to recognize their value every single day and make them a high priority in the ABYC membership. And we have!

The NAMS membership package is $195.000 for new members only and is $50.00 less than the new regular ABYC price. In addition, each membership includes a free, soft cover copy of the ABYC Standards & Technical Information Reports for Small Craft! When contacting ABYC for membership, members should identify themselves as NAMS members and ask for the special pricing-that’s all there is to it. With your cooperation, NAMS members will know to ask for the special pricing, therefore, we encourage you to publicize the new ABYC membership offer in any of your publications.

Judith Ramsey | Director, Membership, Phone: 410-990-4460 x32 Fax: 410-990-4466 jramsey@abycinc.org http://www.abycinc.org/

 

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New book by Les Lester, NAMS-CMS

Our fellow NAMSGlobal member Les Lester of San Diego, California has recently published his memoir "An Officer...Not a Gentleman". Most of the book is about the U. S. Navy, some about commercial fishing, Merchant Marine and technical advising with US Army in Vietnam. The publisher is Jim Pelletier, a U S Navy veteran and maritime academy grad. For details on how to order it or any of the numerous books offered, log on to www.MarineTechPublishing.com. Marine Techniques Publishing is in Augusta, Maine, Tel (207)622-7984. Their very interesting and well laid out website provides sources for marine technical, text, diving books, DVD movies, mariner employment guides, book reviews and poems.

 

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New Maritime Safety Bill

A new Maritime Safety Bill has been introduced for consideration into the US House of Representatives. It has sections addressing fishing vessel regulations, vessel size limits, emergency equipment, cold weather survival training and many other subjects. For a link to the notice, go to http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/111_HR_2652.html

 

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72' Viking Propeller Shafts Breaking?

Propeller Shaft Fractured at Taper Neil C. Rosen, NAMS-CMS of the New England Region wrote to us inquiring whether any of our readers have encountered shaft problems with a 72' VIKING. His inquiry is about propeller shafts breaking just forward of the taper for no apparent reason, i.e. not due to grounding, age or any reason other than stress? You can reply directly to Neil via Email at mscmaine@gwi.net

Please note that the shaft to the left is not from a Viking 72, but rather an image of a typical shaft fracture.

 

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Babel Fish… No License Needed And Not Very Tasty But None The Less Helpful from Bob Wallstrom, NAMS-CMS Retired Life Member.

For those of us who, must from time to time, communicate with folks whose second language skills are not equal to those whose language is their first language, there is an available free translation service called <Babel Fish> by Yahoo. There is a 150 word limit to the amount of words to be translated so you’ll need to compose your request into mini-chapters or a few long paragraphs. The languages are limited to; French, German, Greek, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. As well as a couple of Chinese dialects. The translation is reciprocal. The user will need to comply with the need for correct spelling and proper punctuation for best results.

There were 114 words shown above.

And now to Spanish:

Para los de nosotros que deben comunicar de vez en cuando con la gente cuyos segundos conocimientos lingüísticos no son iguales a los cuya lengua sea su primera lengua, hay un servicio de traducción libre disponible llamado por Yahoo. Hay un límite de 150 palabras a la cantidad de palabras a ser tan traducidos you' necesidad del ll de componer su petición en los mini-capítulos o algunos párrafos largos. ¿Las idiomas se limitan a? Francés, alemán, griego, holandés, italiano, japonés, coreano, portugués, ruso, y español. Así como uces par de dialectos chinos. La traducción es recíproca. El usuario necesitará conformarse con la necesidad del deletreo correcto y la puntuación apropiada para los mejores resultados.

There may be a small difference in the translation of the first sentence because my editor felt it was unclear. None the less, this will be a help to those whose second language is also English. It may take a few shots at the translation phase until you figure out how to make the translation boxes work. Viel gluck, as they say in German!

 

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US Property And Casualty Market

In the wake of the September 2008 financial meltdown, the phrase “perfect storm” has had much mileage in insurance industry circles. Underwriting losses, declining premiums and shrinking insurer investment results in 2008 have meant that the US property and casualty market, for example, has seen operating profit down more than 90% from a year earlier. The US property and casualty capacity shrunk in 2008, with policyholder surplus down 15% to $455bn at the end of the year, although the industry as a whole remained well-capitalized and above levels seen as recently as 2005. However, the combined ratio, a measure of underwriting performance, reached 105.1, a level not seen by US property and casualty insurers for several years due to significantly insured losses and lower rates. Net underwriting losses reached over $20bn in 2008, primarily driven by catastrophic weather events, including Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, as well as losses in financial guaranty and mortgage insurance lines. Net written premiums declined 1.4% from 2007 due to a soft-pricing market and the recession. Investment income has also fallen, with US property and casualty insurers estimated to have reported more than $70bn losses, which has put further emphasis on improved underwriting profits. However, despite these severe challenges, the US property and casualty market remains sufficiently capitalized, its balance sheet strong and liquidity sound. (Lloyd’s List, 4/23/2009.) Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin

 

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Marine Safety Alert - Compact Fluorescent Lights

United States Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship, Marine Safety Alert 02-09, June 8, 2009. Washington, DC

Compact Fluorescent Lights

This Safety Alert serves to inform the maritime industry that energy saving Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) or lighting, sometimes known as radio frequency (RF) lighting devices may interfere with certain communications equipment. CFLs employ a RF lighting device to excite a gas inside a bulb in order to produce light.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recognized the need for and adopted rules to control the harmful interference to radio communications services from these devices. During the rulemaking process the Coast Guard provided comments and recommended an advisory label for CFLs / RF lighting devices warning users about potential interference to communication services and particularly with respect to devices capable of producing emissions in the 0.45-30 MHz band. As a result, the FCC required manufacturers of CFLs to provide an advisory statement, either on the product packaging or with other user documentation, similar to the following: "This product may cause interference to radio communications and should not be installed near maritime safety communications equipment or other critical navigation or communication equipment operating between 0.45-30 MHz."

The Coast Guard has learned that CFLs have been installed on the navigation bridges of vessels and in other places capable of causing radio communications interference. Marine inspectors, vessel owners and operators ** should be aware of this potential safety hazard ** and take proper action as needed.

This safety alert is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational or material requirement. Developed by the Office of Domestic Vessel Activities (CG-5431), United States Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC.

 

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Cargo Ships Treading Water

To go out in a small boat along Singapore’s coast now is to feel like a mouse tiptoeing through an endless herd of slumbering elephants. One of the largest fleets of ships ever gathered idles here just outside one of the world’s busiest ports, marooned by a receding tide of global trade. Hundreds of cargo ships – some up to 300,000 tons, with many weighing more than the entire 130-ship Spanish Armada – seem to perch on top of the water. So many ships have congregated here – 735, according to AIS Live tracking service of Lloyd’s Register-Fairplay Research, a ship tracking service based in London – that shipping lines are becoming concerned about near misses and collision in one of the world’s most congested waterways, the Strait of Malacca, which separates Malaysia and Singapore from Indonesia. The root of the problem lies in an unusually steep slump in global trade. More worrisome, despite some positive signs like a Wall Street rally and slower job losses in the United States, is that the current level of trade does not suggest a recovery soon, many in the shipping business say. Western customers still adjusting to losses in value of their stocks and homes are in little mood to start spending again on nonessential imports, said Joshua Felman, the assistant director of the Asia and Pacific division of the International Monetary Fund, “For trade to pick up, demand has to pick up,” he said. “It’s very difficult to see that happening any time soon.” (The New York Times, 5/13/2009.) Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

 

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Cocaine Submarine Armada

When narcotics agents first heard that drug cartels were building an armada of submarines to transport cocaine they thought it was a joke. Now US law enforcement officials say more than a third of the cocaine smuggled into the US from Colombia travels in submersibles. An experimental oddity two years ago, the strange semi-submarines are now the cutting edge of drug trafficking.

The subs are powered by ordinary diesel engines and built of simple fibreglass in clandestine shipyards in the Colombian jungle. US officials expect 70 or more to be launched this year with a potential cargo of 380 tonnes of cocaine, worth billions of dollars. The submersibles boast technologies that make them difficult to intercept, even though US forces use state-of-the-art submarine warfare strategies against them. Authorities say most slip through their net. “You try finding a floating log in the middle of the Pacific,” one US drug agent said.

US officials and their Colombian counterparts have detected evidence of more than 115 submersible voyages since 2006. They have apprehended the crews of more than 22 submersibles at sea since 2007. Six crews have been arrested this year. The Colombian Navy has intercepted or discovered 33 subs since 1993. The vessels do not fully submerge but skim the sea surface. They move quickly at night, then drift like sleeping whales during the day. Under cover of darkness, they slither out of Colombia’s shallow rivers and 10 days later rendezvous offshore along the Central American coast, usually near Guatemala, where cocaine is offloaded and the subs are sunk. “These vessels are intelligently designed,” said Rear Admiral Joseph Nimmich of the US Coast Guard. “They are not very comfortable, but they are now very seaworthy.”

The latest submersibles can travel 4800 kilometres without refueling. Colombian officials say some former military personnel may be helping to design, construct and direct the vessels. Admiral Guillermo Barrera of the Colombian Navy says the subs usually carry four to 10 tonnes of cocaine. They typically have a crew of four, including a captain, an engineer and a seaman who helps steer and unload the cocaine. The fourth crew member usually represents the owner. With cargoes worth $US100 million ($125 million) or more, “you want to know where they’re headed”, Admiral Barrera said. Crews are well compensated, splitting as much as $US500,000. The work is dangerous; the subs cross stormy sea lanes without lights, with a shifting ballast of fuel and drugs. The cabins are hot and cramped, with a bucket for a latrine and a floor to sleep on.

Last year the US Congress passed the Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act, which makes it a crime to ply international waters in stateless vessels with the intent of evading detection. The maximum sentence is 15 years. So far three crews have either entered pleas or been found guilty. Courtesy http://www.bigbluetech.net/big-blue-tech-news/ Maritime Advocate Online a weekly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to dispute resolution. To contact the editor Bevis Marks, send an e-mail to: editor@avoarchive.com

 

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Heavy Lift Club Formed

According to World Cargo News, a number of ocean carriers involved with the international transport of project and heavy lift cargos met on 26 May 09 in Antwerp, prior to the commencement of the Breakbulk Europe Conference, and announced the founding of the International Council of Heavy Lift and Project Cargo Carriers, also referred to as the Heavy Lift Club.

Jan Steffens from Rickmers-Linie has been appointed chairman of the club, the remit of which includes education, technological innovation, the environment, security and the awareness of considerations involved with the marine transport of heavy lift and project cargoes.

Membership is open to ocean carriers who are routinely engaged in the international transport of heavy lift and project cargos through the use of a long-term controlled fleet of self-sustained heavy lift vessels. The club has a non-rate discussion agreement filed with the Federal Maritime Commission.

All of the following carriers are or will be members following FMC approval: Australia Asia Line; BigLift Shipping BV; Beluga Chartering Gmbh; BBC Chartering & Logistic GmbH & Co KG; Chipolbrok; Clipper Projects A/S; Conti-Lines; Hyundai Merchant Marine; Intermarine, LLC, representing Industrial Maritime Carriers, LLC; K/S Combi Lift; Nordana; Rickmers-Linie GmbH & Cie KG; Scan-Scott; Scan-Trans; and Universal Africa Lines Ltd. http://www.worldcargonews.com/htm/w20090527.814278.htm

Courtesy of BOW WAVE, published each week to over 15,000 Readers in the transport, insurance, shipping and finance industries. To be added to the free subscription list, contact editor Sam Ignarski, sam@wavyline.com.

 

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Piracy News

The U.S. Coast Guard will require U.S.-flagged ships sailing around the Horn of Africa to post guards and ship owners to submit anti-piracy security plans for approval, a Coast Guard official said. The new requirements, which respond to a surge of piracy off the coast of Somalia, allow ship owners to decide whether to use armed or unarmed guards, Coast Guard Rear Admiral James Watson told shipping industry representatives at a maritime security meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The revised Maritime Security Directive, highly anticipated by the shipping industry, was signed Monday by Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen. "We expect to see additional security on U.S.-flagged vessels that transit these waters," said Watson, the Coast Guard's director of prevention policy.

The requirement to post guards applies only to ships sailing off the Horn of Africa, but the owners of all U.S.-flagged ships must submit security plans to the Coast Guard by May 26, Watson said. "They're going to tell us what they propose," and then the Coast Guard will give thumbs up or thumbs down, Watson said.

Watson said the directive does not dictate how many guards must be posted on each vessel, or what type of training they must have. He said the Coast Guard would work with ship owners whose plans are deemed inadequate to fend off pirate attacks. "We're not interested in putting ships out of business," he said.

The piracy off the coast of Somalia included an attack against the U.S.-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama last month. The ship's captain, Richard Phillips, was freed four days later when U.S. commandos shot and killed three pirates.

Arming cargo ships has been a sensitive issue because some countries will not allow armed vessels to enter their ports. Additionally, arming the ships can raise insurance costs. U.S.-flagged ships that carry military cargo already are armed, Watson said. He said the State Department was working with countries in pirate-plagued regions to learn what weapons laws apply in their ports in order to clarify the issue for U.S. mariners.

Watson said the new directive would not be publicly released in its entirety because it contained sensitive security information. But at the urging of shipping officials at the conference, he said a scrubbed version might be released to help shipping companies learn good security measures from each other.

"It's the actual security that's on a particular vessel that we want to keep close-held," Watson said. (source Insurance Journal update 13th May, 2009) http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2009/05/12/100437.htm

Courtesy Maritime Advocate Online, a weekly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to dispute resolution. To contact the editor Bevis Marks, send an e-mail to: editor@avoarchive.com

 

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Cargo: How Does One Know?

Green plantains from Columbia, South America, were shipped to the United States, in a container with the temperature to be kept at 7.2º C. The goods were identified as being “shipper’s load, stow, count and sealed…clean shipped on board.” The ocean carrier had no opportunity to inspect the plantains or their packaging inside the container, the container having been sealed before delivery to the ocean carrier. The container included a refrigeration unit which was set at 7.2º C. (45º F.). On discharge at Newark, New Jersey, the container was delivered to plaintiff’s location and was signed for with no exceptions. Two days later, the plaintiff opened the container and noticed that the plantains were ripened.

Two weeks after the plantains were delivered, the plaintiff requested a survey of the plantains to identify the apparent cause of the ripening. When the surveyor arrived the same day, the plantains were outside of the container and stacked on a tarmac, subject to the elements. They were found to be fully yellow with approximately 5% mold on the tips and approximately 80% with browning over 50% of peel. The pulp was soft and yellow. The plaintiff commenced an action for damage to the plantains.

A review was made of the sensor record data downloaded from the container that carried the plantains and an expert opinion was given that the supply air temperature in the container averaged 7.25º C. and return air temperature averaged 8.75º C. during the period of the shipment. The report noted that return air temperature is always higher than delivery air temperature as it extracts heat from cargo.

The court noted that to make a prima facie case of carrier negligence, a plaintiff must prove (1) delivery by the shipper to the carrier in good condition and (2) outturn by the carrier in damaged condition. “In other words, when a carrier has no opportunity to inspect goods at the time the shipper delivered them to the carrier, a plaintiff must introduce some evidence beyond the bill of lading showing that the goods were in good order.” The Court found the plaintiff did not make out a prima facie case that the plantains were in good order when they were delivered to the carrier for shipment. Because the carrier had no opportunity to inspect the goods in the container, the clean bill of lading constituted no evidence that the plantains were in good order at the time the carrier received them.

Additionally, the Court found the evidence presented as to the cooling data records showed that the container was cooled consistently and within a reasonable range of the required temperature during the entire voyage from Columbia to delivery at plaintiff’s New Jersey location. Because the plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie showing that the shipment was in good condition when delivered to the ocean carrier, the ocean carrier’s motion for summary judgment was granted. J.R.J. Enterprises, Inc. v M/V Caportegal, (U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y.) 07 Civ. 6547 (LAP) Decision of Judge Loretta A. Preska, Dated March 31, 2009. (MLA Cargo Newsletter #53, Spring 2009.) Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

 

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Breach Of Captain Warranty Bars Recovery By Tug Owner And Mortgagee

Northern Assurance Company of America v. Rathnum, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56478 (D. Conn. 2008). In a declaratory judgment, holding that the terms of its policy covering the owner of a commercial fishing vessel and naming its mortgagee as loss payee were violated by the owner’s breach of the “captain warranty” provision. The clause provided that the assured “shall disclose” the names of all captains operating the boat as of the effective date of the policy, as well as provide information as to any additional or replacement captains, including their “experience, qualifications and general reputation within the industry as soon as possible.” The boat owner, without notifying the insurer or providing the required information, hired a new captain. Under his command, the boat ran aground and sank. The insurer’s action claims that the boat owner could not recover under the policy because of his breach of the captain warranty, and that the mortgagee/loss payee also could not recover because it had no greater rights than the boat owner. The policy was void by its express terms because of the change of captain. Pursuant to the “rule of strict compliance” the vessel owner would not be able to recover under the policy, and since the policy did not grant any greater rights to the mortgagee, it was also barred from recovering. Rejecting the mortgagee’s argument, the Court found that the language of the captain warranty unambiguously required the owner to inform the insurer when he hired a new captain, which he did not. (MLA Marine Insurance and General Average Newsletter, Spring 2009.) Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin

 

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Ship Valuations

Shipbrokers are likely to further scale back on issuing ship valuations partly because of legal concerns, but also because of an increasing paucity of valid data. Several brokerage houses are known to have stopped issuing valuations altogether. In a market where asset values are falling by the day, the chances of debt defaults tied in with loan-to-value covenants in ship mortgages and loans have increased significantly. (Lloyd’s List, 4/24/2009.) Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

 

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Recent Developments In Salvage Law

Sullivan v. General Helicopters, Int’l, 564 F. Supp. 2d 496 (D.Md., Jul. 10, 2008). Stevedores (employed by Ceres Marine Terminal) attempted to unload a helicopter from a vessel at the Port of Baltimore. The attempt was “bungled” when the nose wheel broke as the helicopter was hauled by tractor down a loading ramp to the pier. A tow truck from Sullivan’s Garage arrived and used a heavy-duty crane mounted atop the tow truck to lift the unsecured helicopter from the ramp and lower it safely to the pier. The tow truck company sued for a marine salvage award. The defendants moved to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Court applied a “modified version of the Grubart test,” which focused on the activities of the putative salvor and reduced “the ‘connection’ prong of the test to the single question of whether the salvor’s activities bear a substantial relationship to traditional maritime activity,” The Court found sufficient locality because the helicopter was sitting with a broken wheel on a loading ramp. Further, the service of “unloading of cargo from a vessel” was essentially maritime in character. Therefore, the Court found subject matter jurisdiction in favor of the tow truck salvor. The Court also deemed that the conditions alleged (including high winds) presented a marine peril. As there was no in rem action, the helicopter could not be arrested. The Court also concluded that the marine terminal defendant was a bailee of the helicopter and thus a proper party, since it had a “direct pecuniary interest in ensuring that the helicopter was not lost or damaged.” (MLA, Salvage Committee, Spring 2009.) Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

 

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Inherent Vice Considered

The latest edition of the Phillips Fox Trade and Transport bulletin contains a note on a recent decision of the English Commercial Court which provided an opportunity for reconsideration of the law of inherent vice and the concept of inevitable loss in marine insurance. The case creates no new law but reaffirms the decision of the House of Lords in Soya GmbH Mainz KG v White [1982] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 136.

The case of Global Process Systems Inc & Anor v Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Berhad [2009] EWHC 637 (Comm) concerned the loss at sea off South Africa of three of four legs of a jack-up oil rig which was being towed from Texas to Malaysia. It was agreed that the loss occurred because of fatigue cracking caused by repeated bending of the legs while being towed on a barge through the sea. The owners of the barge claimed under a policy of insurance, maintaining that the loss of the rig was accidental and within the terms of the ‘all risks’ cover. The insurer maintained that the cause was ‘inherent vice’ in the legs of the rigs. The insurer also maintained the loss was an inevitable consequence of the voyage and that accordingly it was not liable for the loss. The policy of insurance incorporated the Institute Cargo Clauses (A) 1/1/82 under which there is no cover for ‘loss, damage or expense caused by inherent vice or nature of the subject matter insured.

In his judgment Justice Blair made it clear that inherent vice has the same meaning in both carriage of goods by sea and in the law of marine insurance. He concluded that:

• The failure of the legs was very probable, but not inevitable.

• The proximate cause of the loss of the legs was not inadequate repairs during the course of the voyage but rather the inherent inability of the legs to withstand the normal incidents of the voyage, including the weather reasonably to be expected.

Accordingly he found that the cause of the loss was inherent vice and the claimants failed against the insurer. The decision confirms and reinforces the definition of inherent vice provided by Lord Diplock in Soya v White. Read the bulletin in full at: http://www.dlaphillipsfox.com/article/511/Trade-&-Transport-Bulletin---Inherent-vice-and-inevitable-loss-reconsidered

Courtesy Maritime Advocate Online, a weekly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to dispute resolution. To contact the editor Bevis Marks send an e-mail to: editor@avoarchive.com

 

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Loss Control

Marine and energy underwriters are increasingly focusing on the issues of risk management and loss prevention. But the onus is not only on policyholders, as insurers are being asked the same questions by their reinsurers. The days of the reinsurers simply signing off on a book of business are gone. Insurers and their brokers are now being asked ever more detailed questions on their risk portfolios and exposures, which without doubt are filtering down to policyholders. Claims remain the biggest expenditure for the insurance market and any efforts to reduce the level of claims have the knock-on effect of reducing premium levels. The anecdotal evidence that exists in terms of the brokers is that those firms that have a good grip on their risks and can prove they have a professional system of risk management in place are reaping the benefits in terms of their premiums. Insurers are obviously keen to cut the risks they are writing and are gravitating towards those risks that have a handle on the potential for losses (Lloyd’s List, 4/30/2009.) Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

 

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Interesting Websites And Links

www.usedboatwatch.com Responding to increased boater interest in pre-owned powerboats, BoatUS recently announced the introduction of Used Boat Watch, a new online magazine focused on the market for late model powerboats. Much like a traditional buyer’s guide with pictures, floor plans, and retail high-low values, Used Boat Watch provides BoatUS members with side-by-side reviews of popular powerboat models going back to the 1980s. Notably, it’s the only boating magazine to devote it’s entire editorial content to the market for used powerboats.

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais This site tracks every ship at sea right now. Speed track and some even have a picture of the ship.

http://communities.canada.com/theprovince/blogs/onthewaterfront/default.aspx Well wishers in Canada have passed on a reference to the blog called On the Waterfront issued by Vancouver journalist Chrstine Montgomery, said to cast her net over all things maritime. Not that much of direct interest to the ranks of the maritime advocate readership, but certainly you come away from it with a much stronger understanding of the local shipping scene in Vancouver.

http://www.videoray.com/company Founded in 1999m the concept was a simple one – build a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that could be sent into underwater locations that its owners could not reach, or where it might be necessary, or even dangerous, for them to do so. The challenge was to make this relatively new technology more accessible to potential users, which meant it had to be portable, reliable, affordable, and easy to use. The first systems had shallow depth ratings, included short tethers and basic thrusters, and were used in nuclear power plants, aquaculture sites, educational ships, and yachts.

www.chemtrec.com/chemtrec/ CHEMTREC has handled over a million emergencies since its founding as a public service of the American Chemistry Council in 1971. CHEMTREC (CHEMical Transportation Emergency Center) is dedicated to assisting emergency responders deal with incidents involving hazardous materials and dangerous goods. CHEMTREC also helps shippers of hazardous materials comply with government regulations, such as US Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation 49 CFR § 172.604.

 

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