Insurers Twitchy on Force

Lloyd’s Market Association’s Joint War Committee is set to review the new international standard on Rules for the use of Force at its next meeting.

The 100 Series rules have been rolled out despite some insurance industry concerns about its potential liability problems. Indeed, according to underwriters the unpredictable liability was a major reason that shipowners had been so resolutely anti-armed guards for so long.

The document has taken a vast amount of work and lobbying, and has been supported by SAMI, BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping, and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, and has been submitted to the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and is on the agenda when the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 92nd maritime safety committee meets next month.

Despite the underlying concerns and hesitations, insurers have praised those involved in the drafting the rules for managing to take complex land-based security and developing them for the offshore maritime sector.

The author of the rules, Barrister David Hammond does not suppose the rules to be a means of providing a blanket defence or immunity, but they do provide, if used properly and lawfully a clear audit trail for the rules for the use of force.

Despite the vast complexities of using force onboard a ship, it is hoped that the 100 series can provide consistency, setting an objective standard for all parties and providing the basis to discuss what actions might be defined to be necessary, proportionate and reasonable. Such that all parties, whether they be guards, seafarers, shipping executives or even pirates – can be assured of the processes in place and of the structure for a response to a pirate attack.