Marine Insurance is divided into two main categories, Hull & Machinery (H&M) and Protection & Indemnity (P&I). P&I is subsidiary to H&M and is your liability insurance. H&M covers your property. However, the division between H&M and P&I insurance is not clear-cut. For instance, when it comes to collisions and contact damages on fixed or floating objects, your H&M insurer would normally be liable for the damages done. This depends on the insurance conditions under which your vessel is entered.
This text is by no means intended to reduce the shipowners’ area of authority, nor is it our intention to limit the master’s authority or freedom of action. Requirements and procedures in the owners’ instructions take precedence.
Norwegian Hull Club emphasises that nothing in this guide should hinder, delay or obstruct the obvious focus on the safety of the crew, which is by far paramount to rescuing property.
Key Correspondents have a regional responsibility as described in the table on the next page. A Local Correspondent will usually be the first representative from the underwriter to attend the vessel. In the event of a major casualty, a Key Correspondent may attend in addition to a Local Correspondent.
In order to handle any H&M casualty – wherever it may take place – it is our goal that the correspondent should assist and collaborate with the Master and his crew, the owner or his shipmanager/superintendent in the best way possible.
If a Master contacts a key or local correspondent directly, they will ensure that NHC is informed accordingly and that all claims handling formalities are initiated.
In the following pages we will address a few key issues. The content is abbreviated and is by no means complete, and primarily intended for the initial phase of a situation. As stated above, company procedures always take precedence, but we trust that the content may serve as a useful supplement to company procedures in an emergency situation.
When a casualty has occurred or is imminent, the owners are to be notified immediately. To notify the vessel's H&M insurers please contact Norwegian Hull Club or one of our Key- or Local Correspondents directly. Depending on the urgency of the matter, you may also notify us on our emergency phone number. If e-mail is used for notification purposes, it should be followed by a phone call in order to ensure immediate attention.
A timely notification will enable NHC to be of assistance. Our network of specialists and correspondents around the world will be ready to support the master. The consequences of not reporting an incident may be dire. According to insurance conditions, you are obliged to notify your underwriter without undue delay.
Immediate notification of the Master, especially in collision cases, is vital. Time is of the essence in order to safeguard your position. When considering notifying the insurer about a casualty, the master should also keep in mind whether the vessel carries a Loss of Hire insurance and notify accordingly.
A notification should include the following information:
To ensure proper handling of an insurance claim the logbooks on board are important sources of information. When a casualty has occurred or threatens to occur, proper notes should be made in the logbooks according to company procedure. The logs are official documents and can be legally important. Never scribble over or erase a wrongful entry in the logbook, just draw a single line through it.
We also encourage the master to ensure that relevant officers, as soon as possible, write a more specific Statement of Facts in order to describe a casualty.
On the next few pages we will offer various operational advice. Please remember that this is just advice, and that requirements and procedures in the Owners’ Instructions take precedence. In emergency situations such as grounding, fire, collisions and flooding we wish to stress the importance of the actions taken in the first 30 minutes after an accident has occurred. During this period the Master will put down the building blocks that will govern whether a crisis is handled successfully or not.
For the Master it is important to remember the following:
The worst decision the Master may have to make is to abandon ship. Prepare for it and think this difficult decision through on sunny days. Your ship is often the best lifeboat.