IMO in Session
Contents in this issue:
2. Second Thoughts on Winding Up of the South of England Club
3. George Grishin Reports on His Odessa Seminar
4. IMO Members of Council
6. And Finally…
Poem of the Week
that guests no longer come unannounced
or that the photo album contains pictures
of much younger people than we remember being
never mind that swallows etch Sanskrit
on the wrinkled sky
and the present is emptying its wine
into our glasses
never mind that we’re not touching now
because our shadows are holding hands
in the dark behind our backs
Denver Butson (2003)
News of Readers
Paul Crompton has changed jobs. His employer, GCAN Insurance, where he was
SVP Commercial Risk,was acquired by RSA earlier this year. He has now joined
the parent in the position of Director, Strategic Underwriting.
His new email address is:-
From John Green of the Apostleship of the Sea:-
‘Swanland’ ship’s crew remembered
News sources widely reported the sinking of the Swanland in the Irish Sea,
at 2am on the 27th November, two crew were rescued, with another one being
pulled from the sea dead, five crew are still missing. This ship had
worked various coastal ports of Great Britain over the last few years
such as Cowes, Ipswich, Sheerness & Teesport. Port chaplains of seafarers
charity the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) recounted how over the years they
have visited the ship meeting the Russian crew and helped them with whilst
in port. Sr Marian Davey told how she would visit the ship whilst in
Ipswich and give them Russian newspapers and take them to the seafarers’
centre so they could phone or email loved ones back home. Sr Marian said
‘it make one think of the danger seafarers face, one day you can be visiting
them, taking them into town and then hear how their ship had sunk with terrible
loss of life.’
AoS Teesport chaplain, Tony McAvoy also shared how one of his team had
also visited the Swanland whilst it berthed in Teesport, he recalled he
received a good welcome onboard from the Russian crew whilst providing
them with local port information and Russian news.’ Tony, who was visiting
other ships docked in Teesport today noted that the sinking was very much
in the mind of the crews of those other ships he visited.
Prayers were said across the country together with seafarers organised
by the Apostleship of the Sea for the crew of the Swanland.
Many interesting people are joining FOB . To name a few:-
Naval Architect Jan Ellingsen
Jan-Wessel Brons, scion of old Hamburg shipping correspondents
Marine consultant Ian McCarry
Attorney and yacht specialist Steven Clark
Insurance broker Diane Estep
Insurance broker Claire Juliana
Belgian sale and purchase specialist Madeleine Kooy
West country lawyer Johnny Johnson
You can see who is joining FOB by country and by occupation
by using the search windows on the People page, the most
popular page on the site, which does bear a passing resemblance
to another well known and much more generalist networking site.
FOB is growing nicely and has over 2144 members located in
76 countries. It offers an unmuddled approach to networking
in the maritime, transport and risk areas, with small general
subject groups. We enjoy featuring good writing on all manner
of subjects. We moderate the site, but there have been very few
cases where we have had to ask a member to give order. The FOB
news page, together with Bow Wave and its sister publication
the Maritime Advocate helps our members’ news to go viral.
Registration is gratis for individuals. Businesses can take out
a page for a small supporting contribution and we welcome firms
prepared to sponsor Group pages or advertise with us. This helps
to keep FOB a going concern and puts a smile on the face of our
programmers and accountants..
FOB is a project designed to adapt the new ways of using the
internet for the sorts of people who read The Maritime Advocate.
You are welcome to join
Note from the Editor
Some cracking items this week, all sourced from Bow Wave Readers.
Do you have a story for us?
2. Second Thoughts on Winding Up of the South of England Club
Our special correspndent on mutual matters, Bonar G. Faith,
ponders the shadows of the recent decision by the Bermuda
insurance regulators to wind up the ailing South of England
Alarm Bells Ring in P&I
Alarm bells were ringing in the P&I world this week as many
seasoned campaigners began to question the actions of the
Bermudan authorities. While ship owners and their insurance
brokers look on at the winding up proceedings against the
independent mutual, The South of England P&I, details of
the actions of the regulatory authority involved, as well
as that of their appointed provisional liquidators, are
beginning to be revealed. Several International Group P&I
Clubs are domiciled in Bermuda and they could be shifting
uncomfortably in their seats as they watch this saga unfold.
On October 10th The Bermudan Monetary Authority (BMA) filed
their petition for a winding up order against the South of
England, it would seem on the premise that that they believed
the Club to be insolvent. The Club had been in discussions
with BMA concerning their solvency following a series of
large losses that hit the club over 2009 and, to a lesser
extent, 2010. These discussions had been ongoing since May
2010 and part of an ongoing consultation to bring the Club
into compliance and to demonstrate this by way of an unaudited
statutory financial return by no later than the end of April
As part of the process to achieve compliance, the Club
restructured its reinsurance and undertook a full review
of all outstanding claims reserves. There was also a call
on members for excess supplementary calls to be paid,
which the Club was pursuing in the usual fashion. The claims
review produced a reduction in reserves of an amount in excess
of USD 21m which on its own would most likely put to rest
any fears that BMA may have had.
BMA were aware of the measures being taken, however before
these revised figures could be audited or the 2010 audited
accounts be presented to them, they filed the petition for
winding up. It seems incomprehensible that they couldn’t have
deferred this decision for the two weeks that it would have
taken to submit both items for review.
There were mumblings that the Club would be unable to collect
the excess supplementary calls from its members, which seemed
odd to many as South of England had collected supplementary
calls successfully in the past and were only a couple of months
on from initially making these calls. Some Group Club
underwriters were heard to question whether any P&I Club
could be able to collect all of its supplementary calls
in two months. Certainly, it seems like a very long shot indeed.
In keeping with the process, KPMG were appointed as provisional
liquidators, one would imagine this was to protect the interests
of members and potential creditors in the event that the
winding up went ahead. As the members were heard to let out a
sigh of relief that the ship was steering to safety, it seems
that there was a wrestle for the wheel resulting in the
provisional liquidators overpowering the Captain and his
crew and setting a new course, directly for the rocks as
they ceased making payments or administering the Club in
a way that would protect the members.
The Supreme Court of Bermuda heard this sorry tale last Friday
and appeared to be as concerned as the Club’s members at the
actions of BMA and KPMG. On resumption of the hearing this week,
both of these parties, perhaps having been rumbled refocused
their attention on the application of the Club’s bye laws,
alleging that there were technical breaches of them. Never
mind the fact that the Club’s Bermudian representatives,
lawyers and auditors had all failed to spot these since
the Club’s formation in 2004 and that the bye laws had been
unchanged from that time. It would appear the regulator is
simply using this as an excuse since the breaches could have
been easily rectified.
Many of the members are beginning to question the actions of
the provisional liquidators and whether they have acted in
accordance with their responsibilities. Some others are asking
questions of the Bermudan Monetary Authority and their role
in this sorry tale and to what extent KPMG were involved
and to what extent have they benefited from the eventual
winding up of South of England.
What is certain is that despite the Bermudan Supreme Court’s
ruling, we probably won’t have heard the last of this. Of
course, Bermuda will remain as a favoured domicile for many
insurers but a cold breeze is blowing through the P&I mutual
world. Perhaps after all, the commercial insurers are best
suited for this jurisdiction. One thing is for sure, this one
will run and run.
3. George Grishin Reports on His Odessa Seminar
Odessa is always beautiful, even in late autumn. Well, jogging in the
morning along the sea shore was an experiment, with rather bitter
wind in spite of the lazy sun.
Anyway, we had nearly 90 confirmed participants, of whom some 75 have
actually turned up. This is normal for our free seminars, where nobody
pays and doesn’t feel it necessary to come over. We are always glad to
Our proceedings started with reminding the high audience that in
November 2009 our Odessa seminar had signed, probably, the first
official letter demanding to allow arms on board the vessels passing
GOA. The letter was sent to 28 addresses including IMO, UNO etc.
Who knows, may be it did start the process which culminated in
admitting PCAPS on board.
We then remembered another cause for (the evening) celebration,
the 225th anniversary of the Russian Insurance. On December 23rd
1786 Catherine the Great signed a charter of the First Russian
Insurance Expedition, the term used in the absence of Company
Law in the Russian Empire in the 18th century.
Then, the seminar papers and speeches went as follows:-
-George Grishin, Oakeshott–an introduction, a presentation of the
book on cargo insurance, marine insurance statistics, main market
trends, a bit of the theory needed every day, i.e. a definition and
practical difficulties of cargo insurance and the utmost good faith
-Jean-Pierre Van Hoof, TNCC, Belgium–the company presentation + an
interesting paper on the obligatory P&I Insurance in Europe, coming
into force from 1/1/2012 (EU Directive 2009/20/EC);
-Nikita Minin, Rosgosstrakh, Russia–the International Marine Insurance
market in figures–statistics and the sad fact of the high loss ratio
in marine insurance;
-Aleksey Erofeev, VSK, Russia–1976 Limitation of Liability Convention
with 1996 Protocol: how is it applied in practice?
-Igor Belik, ATB Shipping, Kherson–Why aren’t insurers eager to cover
the start-up shipping companies with elderly vessels? The shipowners
invest serious money and need support from insurers;
-Of course, a discussion followed in which Erofeev, Grishin and Minin
-after the lunch, we listened to Aris Arvanitakis of the Phoenix Register
of Shipping, Greece with a presentation of the Register. Kherson representative
Sergey Gudko explained how the Register works in the CIS countries;
-Aleksey Erofeev made an interesting comment having presented VSK
loss statistics analysis. It did not show a dependence of Hull losses
on the non-IACS classes of insured vessels;
-George Lambrou of Thomas Cooper spoke on Recent Developments in Marine
Insurance Law in England, in particular, on non-disclosure, a dry dock
sinking case, the cargo captured by pirates precedent, the inherent vice
of cargo when carrying an oil rig, the not following a follow-the-settlement clause case;
-Elena Bakmaz of Gur Law Firm, Turkey, read a paper on the Regulation on i
nsurance coverage and inspection of the vessels for the maritime claims in Turkey,
-George Grishin made a presentation on various insurance, legal and shipping points.
At the closing bell, we presented the awards to the Quiz winners. The first quiz
was navigational, asking delegates to explain the TVMDC abbreviation. Rosgosstrakh’s
Polina Makienko won, obviously, she takes yacht insurance seriously! Then was
Oakeshott’s Cargo / Hull insurance questionnaire. Anatoliy Bilyk of Zeller
Associates came second with 9 correct answers out of 10. And the winner was
Tatiana Vlasko of TAS Insurance in Kiev. It was the first time in this
questionnaire’s 6 months history that someone got all answers right.
A seminar may be a failure without a good party. We enjoyed the Café Opera
food and drinks, and the most active seminar participants stayed till 5 am
trying their voices at karaoke.
Odessa is a very nice place to have a seminar in. To start with, being quite
a young city founded in 1794, by the beginning of 20th century it was the
fourth largest in the Russian Empire after Moscow, St Petersburg and Warsaw.
It is still very attractive. One can easily see it. Oakeshott and VSK teams
made a 800 km trip across the Southern Ukraine, visiting Donetsk, Mariupol,
Kherson and Nikolaev. Odessa was by far the most picturesque.
It has this combination of old and new. Both are a bit excessive, with too
much stucco, enormous windows, golden columns and high-rise buildings
towering above the 5-stories Khrushev era blocks. But, all these excesses
still look nice.
Probably, it’s because of its people? Odesseety, as they are called, form
a separate type. Everyone knows about their sense of humour and their literary
talents. 20th century Russian literature’s most popular hero, the small crook
Ostap Bender, was created by the Odessety–the writers Ilf and Petrov in their
two novels 12 Chairs and The Golden Calf. A monument to the 12th chair stands
in the main street, Deribassovskaya.
Why the Spanish name? A cliché, but Odessa was a melting pot. It was founded
following the decree of Catherine the Great. Spaniard De Ribas, Frenchmen
Richelieu and De Volan made an enormous contribution. Moldovans formed a
separate district. In the 19th century the London-educated Governor
Voronstov (look for the Woronzow street in the London’s St John Wood)
did a lot for the region. The Odessa Jewish diaspora was always famous.
It reduced in 1970ies and then in 2000s, but those who stay are adding
their quiet intelligence and humour to the city’s spirit.
“How much is this horse?” “But it’s a chicken!”. :”Just looking at the price tag!”
A young guy wants to get work as a deck hand. “Can you swim?” “Don’t you have ships?”
Do they always answer with a question in Odessa? “Who said that?”
Don’t just come to look at Odessa’s points of interest–try to meet Odesseety
and only then you will understand the city!
PS All seminar papers are available at:-
4. IMO Members of Council
The Assembly of the International Maritime Organization has elected the following
States to be Members of its Council for the 2012-2013 biennium:
Category (a) 10 States with the largest interest in providing international
China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea,
Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States.
Category (b) 10 States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade:-
Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India,
Netherlands, Spain, Sweden.
Category (c) 20 States not elected under (a) or (b) above, which have
special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election
to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic
areas of the world:
Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica,
Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Singapore,
South Africa, Thailand, Turkey.
The Council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible, under the Assembly, for
supervising the work of the Organization. Between sessions of the Assembly, the
Council performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making
recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.
The newly elected Council will meet following the conclusion of the 27th Assembly
for its 107th session.
Courtesy of the Browser, we learned of this latest addition to
the toolkit of citizen journalists. We can imagine how the odd
marine surveyor might find this device a handy way of gaining
6. And Finally…
Courtesy of Sydney lawyer Frazer Hunt come these:-
George Carlin’s Reflections on Life by George Carlin:
1. Never raise your hands to you kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.
2. I’m not into working out. My philosophy is no pain, no pain.
3. I’m in shape. Round is a shape.
4. I’m desperately trying to figure out why Kamikaze pilots wore helmets.
5. Do illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup?
6. I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.
7. Ever notice when you blow in a dog’s face he gets mad at you, but when
you take him in a car he sticks his head out the window.
8. Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but going
faster is a maniac?
9. You have to stay in shape. My mother started walking 5 miles a day when
she was 60. She’s 97 now and we have no idea where she is!
10.I have six locks on my door, all in a row. When I go out, I lock every
other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the
locks, they are always locking three of them.
11.One out of every three Americans is suffering from some form of mental
illness. Think of two of your best friends. If they are OK, then it
must be you.
12.They show you how detergents take out bloodstains. I think if you’ve got
a T-shirt with bloodstains all over it, maybe your laundry isn’t your
13.Ask people why they have deer heads on their walls and they tell you it’s
because they’re such beautiful animals. I think my wife is beautiful, but
I only have photographs of her on the wall.
14.A lady came up to me on the street, pointed at my suede jacket and said,
“Don’t you know a cow was murdered for that jacket?” I said, “I didn’t know
there were any witnesses. Now I’ll have to kill you too!”
15.Future historians will be able to study at the Jimmy Carter Library,
the Gerald Ford Library, the Ronald Reagan Library, and the Bill Clinton
16.If you put a slinky on an escalator, would it go forever?
17.If all babies are cute why are there so many ugly people in the world?
18. What’s another word for thesaurus?
19.If you cross a four leaf clover with poison ivy, would you get a rash
of good luck?
20.Who is more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?
21.If it was a 3 hour cruise, why did Mrs. Howell have so many clothes?
22.Why do people who know the least know it the loudest?
23.Do cemetery workers prefer the graveyard shift?
24.If a book about failures doesn’t sell, is it a success?
25.Why is back pain medication always on the bottom shelf?
26.If talk is cheap, why is my phone bill so high?
27.If someone comes up to you and tells you that they’re an obsessive
compulsive liar, how do you know they’re telling the truth?
28.Should bankruptcy lawyers expect to be paid?
29.If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how do you know if it’s wrong?
P.S. Merci Paul Dixon:-
A very confident James Bond walks into a bar and takes a seat next to a
very attractive woman.
He gives her a quick glance, then casually looks at his watch for a
The woman notices this and asks, “Is your date running late?”
“No”, he replies, “Q has just given me this state-of-the-art watch. I was just
The intrigued woman says, “A state-of-the-art watch ? What’s so special
Bond explains, “It uses Alpha waves to talk to me telepathically.” The
lady says, “What’s is telling you now ?”
“Well, it says you’re not wearing any underwear ….”
The woman giggles and replies, “Well, it must be broken because I am wearing panties!”
Bond smiles, taps his watch and says, “Bloody thing’s an hour fast”.