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: Thursday 24 April, 2014
Location: Hilton Green Park Hotel, London
Ince & Co partner Simon Cooper will be speaking on “What’s new from the courts: latest developments affecting reinsurance”, partner Carol Searle “War risk, terrorism and political violence: wording issues” and partner Ben Ogden will be speaking on “Being prepared for reinsurance disputes: wordings and their role in dispute resolution”.
Date: Tuesday 29 - Wednesday 30 April, 2014
Location: The Pullman, Dubai
Ince & Co partner Rania Tadros will be chairing the two day course and speaking on “Early termination for cause”. Partner, Brian Boahene and solicitor’s Anna Fomina and Pavlo Samothrakis will be speaking at the course on “Choice of law and the implications on operations and disputes”, “Insurance issues and the allocation of risk” and “Supplytime 2005 Contract Form: Identifying the pitfalls and problem areas and exploring how best to manage them”.
Date: Tuesday 29 April, 2014
Location: The Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
We are delighted to be sponsoring and participating in BIMCO’s annual conference, Perspectives in Shipping 2014 - Protecting and Developing Your Business, which takes place in Dubai on 29 April. The conference will focus on current issues impacting all shipowners, to help them to protect and develop their business.
Date: Thursday 15 - Friday 16 May, 2014
Location: Hilton London Tower Bridge
London partner Carol Searle will be speaking on day one of the conference on “Choice of law clauses” , which will provide delegates with an understanding on the rules applicable to choice of law clauses and will cover the new Rome 1 Convention, incorporation of choice of law from insurance to reinsurance, the “floating” choice of law clauses and choice of law in arbitration. Partner Ben Ogden will be speaking on day two of the conference on “Dispute clauses” which will explore the options between court and arbitration, speed and cost, expert knowledge, third parties, enforcement, ADR clauses and the Arbitration Act 1996.
Date: Wednesday 11 - Friday 13 June, 2014
Location: Dexter House, London
Ince & Co partners Chris Kidd, Jonathan Elvey and Stephen Marais will be speaking at the seminar on “Arrangements for the provision of refund guarantees” and “The new role of leasing in shipping finance”. Jonathan Elvey will be hosting a workshop on “Negotiating a second-hand contract”.