Only three per cent of ships visited by the UK P&I Club’s own inspectors in theyear ended 20th February 2000 required subsequent condition surveys. The inspectors all experienced master mariners, examined more than 600 vessels over the year in India, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the US, South America, the Mediterranean and north west Europe to assess the quality of operations and to encourage improvements.
Only 21 had deficiencies, which triggered condition surveys under the Club’s rule 5Q.
This was revealed in the Club’s annual review, published recently. The Club’s ship inspection programme provides a practical method of monitoring standards and has led to the Club declining to renew almost four million gross tons in recent years. Further, there was a fall in the number of UK P&I Club-entered bulk carriers subject to formal repair recommendations after condition surveys.
In the year under review, independent experts carried out over 300 condition surveys on vessels over 10 years old on entering the Club, on those in receipt of adverse reports from the Club’s ship inspectors and on those revealing serious defects during the handling of a claim. As in the previous year, about one-third produced repair recommendations. However, the proportion of bulk carriers requiring formal repair recommendations dropped from 35 to 25 per cent. According to the UK Club’s annual review, "the effects of the ISM Code could be seen in this decline." General cargo ships accounted for more than half the total needing repairs.
Condition surveys and ship inspection visits are integral components of the Club’s wider programme aimed at loss prevention and risk management. The Club supported the publication by the Nautical Institute of Managing Risk in Shipping, the first comprehensive book to examine risk management across all aspects of shipping activity. The Analysis of Major Claims’ Ten-Year Trends in Maritime Risk was derived from the Club’s huge database of claims over US$100,000 since 1987. This study is recognised by the shipping industry as its main source of statistics on large-scale claims liabilities.
Quality of membership remains an important element in the Club’s strategy, so that members can have confidence that those sharing the costs of claims observe responsible standards of operation and maintenance for their own vessels. Accordingly, the Club has accepted the Maritime Industry Charter on Quality which aims to promote a quality culture throughout the maritime industry and to end sub-standard practices. It will participate in the European Quality Shipping Information System (EQUASIS), an EC- sponsored Internet database for recording information on ships, including classification society, insurers and port state control comments.