The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents over 80% of the world merchant fleet, has welcomed the decision by the European Commission competition directorate to close its investigation into the activities of the International Group of P&I Clubs.
ICS Director of Legal Affairs, Kiran Khosla remarked: “ICS has always firmly stated that the current system of mutual third party liability insurance provided by the International Group continues to serve the best interests of ship operators and their customers extremely well, alongside serving the interests of claimants and the general public. In particular, the mutual insurance arrangements provided by the Clubs enable the provision of the very high levels of insurance required under international liability conventions, under which compensation to claimants is generally paid regardless of fault and without legal wrangles.”
ICS has closely followed the European Commission’s investigations of the activities of the IG, the Commission having opened formal proceedings in 2010. The Commission had stated that it was simply conducting an investigation, and that this did not imply that there was ever any proof of infringement. The Commission had also advised that it had opened the investigation on its own initiative and that it had not received any formal complaints.
In bilateral discussions with the Commission, ICS and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) have previously emphasised that the mutual insurance arrangements provided by the P&I Clubs are efficient and cost effective.
“We are very pleased that the Commission officials involved now appear to understand the benefits of the current system.” said Ms Khosla.