Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, a snow-covered Istanbul was on 9 February 2012 the venue of a successful meeting in the framework of “BIMCO39″ – the BIMCO network for young and mid-aged maritime professionals .
Piracy in a strategic and commercial context
Entitled “Best Guards against Pirates” the meeting saw participation of some 60 shipping professionals from Turkey and beyond, and provided an excellent opportunity for participants to get up to speed with a series of painfully current issues related to piracy: The scope and nature of the piracy problem in a strategic context, how to implement anti-piracy Best Management Practices effectively, armed guards and the many issues for the shipowner and operator associated with their use, the commercial implications of piracy e.g. questions such as when a hijacked vessel is considered off-hire, the extent and nature of P&I cover and the various options available to owner, charterer and operator in the insurance market to hedge against the commercial risks of sailing into piracy prone waters.
The core of BIMCO39: Educated discussions
In line with the general norm of BIMCO39 meetings the participants did a remarkable job in making the information flow during the meeting a “two way street”. Experiences and opinions were shared and debated across the range of topics, and often the designated speakers were challenged on their positions, but always with a keen sense of what so often characterize current and future top decision makers: The necessity, when dealing with complex issues, to maintain an open mind, to listen and to learn from others before making up one’s mind.
Private Armed Guards: Risk Assessment and Due Diligence
One topic in particular was the focus of the discussions: The use or not of private armed guards. This topic is high on BIMCO’s agenda especially with BIMCO’s Documentary Committee, a Sub-committee of which is currently finalising the work on GUARDCON – a standard contract aimed at regulating the business relationship between Shipowners and Private Maritime Security Companies. Not least due to the excellent presentations by lawyer Stephen Askins from Ince & Co. and Nigel Carden from the International Group of P&I Clubs, supported by staff from the BIMCO Security Department and the President as well as the Secretary General of BIMCO, the participants were thoroughly briefed on the advantages and potential risks associated with the use of private armed guards. The briefings provided the background for a particularly lively debate that followed, and it is safe to say that the impression which was left behind was that private armed guards may have a role to play in enhancing the security of particularly vulnerable ships. Equally clear, however, was that the decision to use armed guards should only be taken following a thorough ship and voyage specific risk assessment, in consultation with the flag state and only after detailed due diligence on the private maritime security company.
BIMCO 39 – the network of shipping’s future leaders
BIMCO39 is a networking platform for professionals under the age of 45 focusing on creating friendships, promoting cultural exchange, enhancing knowledge of the business/industry, and developing future business opportunities.
BIMCO39 membership is free of charge and exclusive to professionals up to the age of 45 and employed by BIMCO member companies. Simply sign up online via the Account Settings when logged into your own personal MyBIMCO account OR send the following details to firstname.lastname@example.org: name, title, position within the company, company name, BIMCO company registration No., date of birth, and email address.
About BIMCO: BIMCO is the largest of the international shipping associations representing ship-owners controlling around 65 percent of the world’s tonnage and with members in more than 120 countries drawn from a broad range of stakeholders having a vested interest in the shipping industry, including managers, brokers and agents. The association’s main objective is to protect its global membership through the provision of quality information and advice, and while promoting fair business practices, facilitate harmonisation and standardization of commercial shipping practices and contracts. In support of its commitment to promote the development and application of global regulatory instruments, BIMCO is accredited as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with all relevant United Nations organs. In an effort to promote its agenda and objectives, the association maintains a close dialogue with Governments and diplomatic representations around the world including maritime administrations, regulatory institutions and other stakeholders within the areas of EU, the USA and Asia.