- (+45) 4436 6833
The introduction of economic sanctions against Russian banks and other interests may restrict insurers or other financial security providers from processing claims or prohibit payment of claims arising under IMO liability and compensation conventions.
The IMO’s Legal Committee (LEG), at its 109th session taking place from 21 to 25 March 2022, therefore developed guidance on the impact of the situation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov on insurance or other financial security certificates issued by states pursuant to the 1969 Civil Liability Convention (CLC) and 1992 CLC Protocol, the 2001 Bunkers Convention, the 2002 Athens Protocol and the 2007 Wreck Removal Convention.
Mindful that restrictions on insurers or other financial security providers can lead them to cancel the cover, the guidance recommends that flag or certifying states issuing certificates based on Russian insurers or Russian financial security providers verify that the cover meets the necessary criteria and port states encountering certificates that involve Russian insurers or financial security providers consult with the issuing or certifying state responsible for ensuring that the insurance or financial security remains adequate.
Seafarer abandonment remains high on the LEG agenda and the committee expressed profound concern regarding the increase in cases as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Flag and port states were urged to take further action to ensure financial security as required in the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.
The committee also endorsed draft guidelines for port and flag state authorities on how to deal with seafarer abandonment cases. The guidelines will be forwarded for further consideration by the joint ILO-IMO Tripartite Working Group established to identify and address seafarers’ issues and the human element.
Efforts to promote further ratifications of the Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) Convention were reported. BIMCO strongly supports the HNS Convention which is the remaining gap in the global framework of liability and compensation conventions and it is encouraging that only six more ratifications with the required contributing cargo are needed for the convention to enter into force. A workshop will be hosted by Canada in late 2022 to assist states in their work towards ratification.
Discussions continued on methodologies to be developed to assess the need to amend liability limits in some of the LEG conventions. An intersessional correspondence group was established, tasked with the development principles and policy considerations that will need to be decided by the committee. The work will focus initially on the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, as amended by the 1996 Protocol.
Further work on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) was endorsed, namely to address MASS in instruments under the purview of the LEG, taking into account the human element in particular. Also, it was decided to approve the establishment of a Joint Working Group of the Maritime Safety, Facilitation and Legal Committees to address common issues identified.
The LEG also discussed a number of other issues, including fair treatment of seafarers, measures to prevent unlawful practices associated with fraudulent registration and fraudulent registers of ships, and the development of a claims manual for the 2001 Bunkers Convention. See more information about the Legal Committee meeting.