There are calls for one single “mega” P&I Club, as the traditional mutual protection and indemnity insurance system comes under both scrutiny and threat.
A conference in Greece has heard how the trend to consolidate clubs had sparked “an unseemly scrambling for position” and according to experts this battle for tonnage is leading the sector in the wrong direction.
According to observers an industry bossed by a few mega clubs will kill the mutuality concept for good. Instead it has been suggested that the clubs of the International Group should merge into one.
While this is not something the Clubs would ever suggest, it seems the pressure is on shipowners to innovate and drive the change they need to ensure the governance and control they want.
Shipowners have been encouraged to sit down with a clean sheet of paper and do some brainstorming in order to force a surrender of the co-operative individual self-interest to the wider common good.
The conflict comes as it seems that some believe P&I club managers wield too much influence over policy and that boards frequently do little more than rubber-stamp their decisions.
Not all agree, but it seems a worthy and useful debate to have.