Gepost vrijdag 4 juni 2004 @ 11:41
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Pilots in dock as claims for berth collisions soar to $200m
Pilotage weaknesses cited as factor as industry demands tightening of procedures, writes James Brewer
June 04 2004 Lloyds List
chiefs are sending out an urgent call to shipowners to tighten berthing
procedures after colli- sion claims have spun out of control.
may have surged to $200m a year or more across the industry if the
experience of leading protection and indemnity providers is typical.
Controversially, insurers suspect that weaknesses in pilotage are to blame for some of the losses.
contend that some pilotage services - including those staffed by people
in their eighties - are in serious need of revamping. Some 25% of
claims are being ascribed to bad ship handling, and of those one-third
are blamed on pilot error.
P&I Club has taken an initiative by sending out thousands of copies
of a new publication, A Master's Guide to Berthing, said to be the
first of its kind, which took two years of research led by loss
prevention head Eric Murdoch to prepare.
have increased in size and frequency, partly because of the trend to
high sided ships, especially containerships and car carriers, the
latter "fiendishly difficult to berth" according to Mr Murdoch.
Damaged port equipment has become much more expensive to replace.
Groom, chief executive of Standard management company Charles Taylor,
said some of the incidents involved new ships owned by the best
companies and sophisticated docks.
the club was doing all it could to address claims costs, an increasing
proportion was spent on physical damage, with the past year seeing one
of the heaviest amounts at $20m.
ship types becoming larger, their momentum was greater and the
facilities to which they were sailing were becoming more expensive.
Claims of this type were rising at a time when others generally were
Clubs often have to put up large bonds to port authorities to guarantee that claims will be paid.
Murdoch said that estimates for one claim alone last year were at
present running at $8m, the largest claim of any type for the club in
the policy year.
was understood to refer to a dry bulk carrier that hit a the piles of a
berth in Japan, with relatively light damage on either side but putting
the facility out of action for three months and resulting in severe
loss of earnings.
Berth collisions have been reported to the club from northern Europe, Korea, Japan, the US and Canada, although not Australia.
Murdoch was concerned over instances of misjudged distances and wrong
manoeuvres. Masters often relied on pilots to berth the ship and could
intervene only when things were going wrong, he said.
was difficult to identify what a pilot was doing and sometimes
communication between pilot and tugs was in a language other than
Groom called for improved training of personnel, including more
simulator training, although he recognised this could be expensive.
with Mr Murdoch in the new publication were Capt Chris Clarke of
Warsash Maritime Centre, Ian Dand of BMT SeaTech and Standard claims
director Brian Glover.
guide admits that "ship handling is an art rather than a science" but
insists that knowledge of a vessel's characteristics is essential when
it encounters close quarters situations, narrow channels and the
effects of crosswinds and currents.