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London Club Warns of Potential Increase in Exposure to Liability

THE London P&I Club has warned its members to be wary of a potential increase in exposure to liability for claims as a result of pressures exerted by charterers in the current tough market conditions, and against a background of continuing piracy attacks against shipping.

In the latest issue of its Club News, the Club says, “Given the prevailing market conditions, it might be expected that charterers will seek to impose onerous terms on owners, which may serve to encourage masters to expose their ships to an increased risk of piracy. In particular, members should be wary of terms that might expose them to claims for delay, or other liabilities.”

The Club says that the heightened naval presence in the Gulf of Aden and in the coastal waters off Somalia should go some way towards reducing the incidence of piracy, but warns that the risk of attack remains a serious possibility for shipowners and operators trading to the area.

It adds, “Masters who want to deviate from their customary route in order to avoid the risk of piracy should, wherever possible, do so in co-operation with charterers and cargo owners. If this is not possible, it would be prudent to consult the Club.”

The Club also warns, “Members should look carefully at the contractual terms of any agreement concluded with the providers of armed or unarmed guards.”