Hurricane Irma

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As folks dig out from the destruction that Hurricane Irma left in her wake, we were reminded of some aspects of marine insurance as they pertain to named storms like Irma and Hurricane Harvey before her. As we have seen, storms like these produce losses. Good preparation can mean the difference between small easily repairable damages like: Versus losses which can more difficult to swallow: Marine insurance is often underwritten with higher Hurricane or Named Storm Deductible (NSD) for vessels in areas subject to hurricanes, and tropical storms. The NSD is naturally higher than the normal hull deductible and applies when the vessel is damaged due to a named storm. The amount of the NSD varies among insurers. Some do not add a NSD. But it is not unusual to see deductible of 2%, 5% or 10% of the hull value. More relevant for cruisers and liveaboards might be “The …

You must visit the Amalfi Coast, Italy – Photos

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Periodically we like to share photos from our archive that touch on the sea or we think our readers may enjoy. Here are some we took while cruising the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast is the spectacular coastline of Salerno Gulf on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is a great place for cruising with fantastic cities to explore including Positano, Amalfi, Conca dei Marini, and our favorite, the fisherman’s village of Cetara.

Tug on Bosphorus at Sunset – Photo

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Periodically we like to share photos from our archive that touch on the sea or we think our readers may enjoy. Here is one we took showing a coastal safety tug transiting the Bosphorus at sunset.

Introduction to Salvage

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The concept of marine salvage and the governing laws are very old, tracing back to the sea laws of Byzantium and the ancient Mediterranean seaport cities. The duty to rescue people in hazardous situations at sea is well known by all captains. Here in the US, this duty is set forth in the federal law at 46 USC 2304, which provides that the person in charge of a vessel is obligated to provide assistance that can safely be provided to any individual (person) in danger at sea. Florida and other states have their own state laws as well. And failure to provide assistance can result in fines or even imprisonment! But, as to property, there is not such a coercive law requiring a captain to make efforts, heroic or otherwise, to save or “salvage.” For this reason, over time, the law of marine salvage developed in order to encourage efforts …

Cefor Report Shows Benign Claims for Year 2016

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Every year we like to take a look at  the Nordic Association of Marine Insurers (Cefor) Annual Report to see what trends in Marine Insurance are noted. The theme of the 2016 report is clearly that the claims picture in 2016 was benign. Ocean Hull claims have continued their overall decline over the past few years with only 2012, the year of the “Costa Concordia”, standing out. Machinery Damage continues to make up the bulk of claims with a 39% share overall followed by contact and collisions with a 33% combined share. The report also noted that “2016 has seen a continued drop in insured values and reported premium due to challenging market conditions.” As we know a great number commercial vessels remain laid up and when these vessels come out of hibernation, Cefor reminds us that history says, “watch out.”  Vessels which have been in lay-up generally have a higher …

International Group P&I Club Introduction

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International Group P&I Clubs In contrast to so called “fixed premium” P&I marine insurers like British Marine, Lodestar and others, approximately 90% of the world’s blue water tonnage is insured for operating liabilities by one of the thirteen principal underwriting member “Clubs” of the International Group of P&I Clubs (the “IG”). The Clubs are generally quite old (some over 150 years) and modern Clubs with a long history still have names with a strong regional flavor and containing the now redundant ‘steamship’ somewhere in the name, eg. The United Kingdom Mutual Steamship Assurance Association (Bermuda) Ltd.  This old-fashioned image is deliberately cultivated by the Clubs. P&I Clubs are in theory non-profit making mutual organizations, and therefore cannot make a profit or a loss. However all Clubs accumulate ‘free reserves’ which are funds held for the future beyond what they need to pay anticipated incurred but not reported claims. With aggregate …

Joystick Control for Outboard Systems to Reduce Insurance Claims in the Future

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It is one of the most stressful aspects of pilotage for the novice or less experienced boat owner: You must maneuver your vessel within a crowded marina, at a boat ramp on a busy Sunday afternoon, to secure your beaching spot at a crowded party cove, or to moor up at a waterfront restaurant while the crowd watches. Tides, currents, and the wind may not be cooperating and while you can always just repair or ignore your own scratches and scrapes, your fellow boaters may not be so friendly if you damage their boat and ruin their day! Damage you do to a dock is also your responsibility as the skipper. Boaters who put many of these types of claims through their insurance cover, likely face increased rates, higher deductibles, or find themselves without a carrier. Scrape up a super yacht, and one might be faced with a claim for …

P&I 2017 Renewal Season complete with soft pricing

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The 2017 P&I renewal season has now finished on the traditional renewal date of February 20th. This is the date on which, for more than 100 years, P&I mutual “Clubs” have renewed all their memberships simultaneously. The origins of this simultaneous 20 February P&I renewal relate to the old times when vessels were made of wood and ice season in the  Baltics prevented trade until roughly February 20th. Whether the February 20th date still makes sense in the modern era, or whether is is more of a tool for the members of the cartel the International Group of P&I Clubs to keep pricing up is open to debate. But what is not open to debate is that this year saw owners having some advantage over the underwriters. As the Clubs were not demanding general increases this year negotiations focused on price reductions and reportedly some owners have achieved very good results, with …

Chinese Built Vessels Produce More Frequent Insurance Claims

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The Nordic Association of Marine Insurers (Cefor) has highlighted in their 2015 Annual Report an analysis of their data which shows that vessels built in Chinese yards exhibit a much higher claims frequency than vessels built in Japan or South Korea. Cefor found that claims frequency was 89% higher for vessels built in China and elsewhere in the world, compared to vessels built in Japan or South Korea. They noted that frequency is particularly high in machinery claims. The Cefor analysis focused on the tanker, bulk, and container segments. It will be interesting to see how the trends develop and we hope the 2016 report will include an update as market share of Chinese built vessels increases. Also noteworthy is the fact that China is a rising country for the production of super yachts. Chinese production of yachts is still quite small when compared to their US and European competitors …