Ince & Co welcomes FAC Report into Piracy
Thursday 05 January, 2012
The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Report on “Piracy off the coast of Somalia”, published today, sets out the findings of the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) enquiry into the efforts of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the UK Government to combat increasing levels of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
As part of their enquiry, the FAC invited Ince & Co partner Stephen Askins, who has provided legal advice to the owners and underwriters of a number of vessels hijacked by pirates, to appear before the Committee and provide evidence in connection with some of the legal issues that arise in dealing with the threat of piracy. Among other things, Stephen's input related to the use of private armed security guards (PASGs) and the payment of ransoms.
Use of PASGs
The report concludes that “the evidence in support of the use of armed guards is compelling” but that the “Government must provide clearer direction on what is permissible and what is not”. The FAC recommends that, following the Government’s recent announcement that PASGs would be permitted on UK-flagged vessels, clear and unambiguous guidance on the use of armed force should be issued and that this should include provisions that the use of force should be proportionate, necessary and graduated. The report also concludes that a national regulatory structure should be introduced so as to provide a level of quality assurance and ensure that an appropriate approach is followed in all UK-flagged vessels. In respect of the carriage and transfer of weapons by PASGs, the report recommends that agreement be reached with those coastal states through which weapons were likely to need to pass in order to support the use of PASGs.
The report expresses its concern regarding the growth of the payment of ransoms and the escalating costs of piracy to the maritime industry but concludes that, given the commercial realities and the lack of viable alternatives, the Government should address this through the recovery of ransoms and prosecutions rather than making it more difficult for companies to secure the safe release of their crew. In particular, the report concludes that the Government should not criminalise the payment of ransoms.
Stephen Askins commented: "We welcome this wide-ranging report and it would be great to see the UK government taking a lead in this area. A number of the proposed initiatives and recommendations are aimed at protecting commercial vessels and ,importantly, the crews who so often bear the brunt of the piracy attacks. That must be a good thing."
Date: Wednesday 11 - Thursday 12 December, 2013
Location: Hilton London Paddington, UK
Ince & Co partners Faz Peermohamed and Matthew Moore will be speaking on “Co-ordinating and co-operating to promptly locate places of refuge: achieving a common goal” and “Special compensation awards” during this conference. From these presentations delegates will understand how to draft and submit applications for a place of refuge, deal with requests for further information, deal with restrictions from other coastal states and various authorities as well as co-operating with relevant coastal states as the situation unfolds.
Date: Tuesday 28 - Wednesday 29 January, 2014
Location: Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York
Ince & Co partner Nilam Sharma is a panellist discussing “International D&O: What does “football” mean to you?”. The panel will discuss D&O trends outside of the USA and will cover the state of securities litigation in the three most active jurisdictions; Canada, Australia and Europe. This session will examine what is driving the litigation trends and the effect on the international D&O market.
Date: Tuesday 11 - Wednesday 12 February, 2014
Location: 15 Hatfields, London
Ince & Co partner Chris Kidd and senior associate Mark de la Haye will be speaking at the conference on “How is contractual liability addressed in the installation phase of your project?”. This session aims to provide delegates with an understanding of contract risk in terms of the application of liability, how to allocate risk in contract negotiations to ensure responsibility in the event of an accident, dealing with delay and disruption claims arising in the installation phase of the project and assessing how to best protect yourself against claims without resorting to blame shifting.
Date: Wednesday 26 February, 2014
Location: London Hilton Tower Bridge
Ince & Co partners Carol Searle and Ben Ogden will be hosting a pre-conference workshop on the “Legal aspects of export credit and PRI claims”. The workshop will provide delegates with the opportunity to gain an understanding of the legal background to export credit and political risk insurance claims including a discussion of product coverage and guidance on how to establish claims, negotiate disputes and enforce recoveries.
Date: Monday 10 - Wednesday 12 March, 2014
Location: The Hatton, London
Ince & Co partner Fionna Gavin will be speaking at the seminar on “The bill of lading as a contract of carriage”. The conference will provide delegates with an introduction to the Hague, Hague Visby, Hamburg and Rotterdam Rules. The sessions will also explore charterparty terms and what law and jurisdiction applies.