In position for Marine Insurance Singapore

Picture: Paul Apostolis, Alistair Johnston and Maria Borg Barthet in conversation at Marine Insurance Singapore

The inaugural Marine Insurance Singapore conference saw a strong contribution from Campbell Johnston Clark partners, with Paul Apostolis taking on a key role as session moderator and Alistair Johnston offering insights on casualty law.

Staged on 26 November 2019 at the Fullerton Hotel, the inaugural Marine Insurance Singapore event attracted regional and global big hitters alike and saw a keynote address from Tan Beng Tee, Assistant Chief Executive (Development), Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore. Proceedings also included a strong contribution from CJC.

The event included topical discussions on ‘Sulphur 2020’ and the ‘Tech Revolution’, as well as an insightful presentation on the future of marine hull underwriters from Asia Capital Reinsurance Group Head of Marine Simon Stonehouse. However, two ‘Trial Case Study’ sessions moderated by our own Paul Apostolis provided a basis to explore liability issues by focusing on potential events.   

Based the scenario of a fire breaking out in Hold No.3 of a 9,000TEU container ship recently departed from Singapore, the initial focus was on casualty handling, emergency response, early investigations and the contract appropriate in the circumstances.

However, as the scenario unfolds, fire consumes the entire contents of holds 2-5 above and below the waterline and a member of the crew is killed.

While the rest of the crew is assumed moved to safety, the fire suppressed and towage underway, the number of stakeholders now includes not only cargo interests but the family and friends of the deceased, Hull & Machinery loss adjustors and environmental agencies.

Amanda Björk of C Solutions Consultants addressed issues from the ship owner/underwriter perspective. Meanwhile,  Bas Wiebe of Resolve Salvage & Fire assumed the role of the salvors appointed to deal with the case, and outlined issues around fire being brought under control, remaining heat in the cargo, risk calculations, etc.

A second session focussed on port of refuge and the bringing of a ship in damaged condition to Singapore, investigation and causation, the legal implications and whether a general average has been declared, as well as resolving liability according to applicable law.  

In this case, Tan Hi Tsing of Gurbani and Co gave a presentation on Singapore law and port of refuge, with Dave Myers of Brookes Bell addressing fire investigation and causation.

The legal implications that flow from such a casualty were then outlined by Alistair Johnston, who developed the scenario to assume that some containers are saved and General Average is declared, going on to lay out implications from the perspective of the owner and the shipper. Alistair also offered a detailed overview of claims and the relationships between different parties.  

The inauguration of Marine Insurance Singapore introduced a new date to Singapore’s maritime calendar, and an event to which CJC was delighted to contribute. Events of this calibre and focus are to be encouraged.