Ahead of CMA Shipping 2019, we spoke with Andrew Taylor and Stuart Edmonston from the UK P&I Club about the Club’s activities and the importance of safety at sea.
Andrew joined Thomas Miller as a director in December 2007, in June 2018 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer for the UK P&I Club. Stuart, a Master Mariner, joined Thomas Miller’s Loss Prevention department in 2014. Stuart is now serving as Loss Prevention Director for the business.
2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the Club, and they plan to celebrate the event’s significance through an exciting project called Investing in A Safer Tomorrow.
“A safe ship is a happy ship, a happy ship is an efficient ship, and an efficient ship is hopefully a profitable ship.” - Stuart Edmonston, UK P&I Club
Jacques Moss: “It’s your 150th anniversary this year. Could you tell me a little bit about what has changed over 150 years, and what has stayed the same?”
Andrew Taylor: “Yeah, it’s a great anniversary 150 years and it really is testament to how the P&I system has fitted in and supported the shipping world, so it’s a really important anniversary for us. I think, over that time frame, what the Club has tried to do has largely stayed the same because the goals of the Club have stayed the same.
“We continue to offer financial security to make sure that we can pay claims, we continue to want to offer first-class service to our members, and we continue to represent the ship owning world in all sorts of other ways. But the way that we do it has changed.
“As we move into an increasingly digital age, our speed of response is that much greater, the information, trends and analytics is that much different, so I think what we try to do as a club is broadly the same but the way we do it has changed quite a lot.”
JM: “Are you doing anything special to celebrate your anniversary?”
AT: “We are a very global club in outlook, so we are arranging events around the world in order to celebrate. More than that we wanted to do something that really marked the 150th year, so we pulled together a competition where we invited people who are just coming into the industry to think of ideas on how we could make shipping a safer place.
“We called it Investing in A Safer Tomorrow. We had over 200 entries to that competition, and the panel of experts are looking through those entries now. We’ve narrowed it down to a shortlist and by July - which is our gala dinner in London - we’ll be announcing a winner. I’m really hopeful that there will be some ideas that will come through and make a safer tomorrow in shipping.”
JM: “And why did you choose safety as your topic? Is that a particularly important issue to you?”
AT: “Yes, it’s a very important issue for the Club. I think it’s an important issue because safety is important to all of us and if we can make a difference in one life, it will be a worthwhile thing to do. We can fit in to shipping safety programmes, we can’t run a member’s safety programme particularly, but we can come in with analytics and advice on instances that have happened, and we have seen, and feedback that into the system. We can also come with information from different things, we can also visit ships and just give our advice on the risk that we see around their ships.”
JM: “That’s very interesting. What other initiatives are you putting in place to make seafaring a safer profession?”
Stuart Edmonston: “The Club is committed to safety, safety is everything to us and it’s at the core of what we do. A safe ship is a happy ship, a happy ship is an efficient ship, and an efficient ship is hopefully a profitable ship.
“At the Club we have identified three main areas that we focus on. Firstly, we go onboard all the ships that we insure, we carry out risk assessments where we know there have been claims onboard those ships. We assist the crew onboard, the masters in particular, identifying the areas in the book, approximately 3,500 ships, where we have seen those claims occur, and we can share that information with the crew on board the ships.
“[Secondly], we offer ourselves around the world as we attend crew seminars. A member or an owner of a ship will host crew seminars, in countries such as the Philippines, India and Europe, and we will attend those seminars, and if nothing else, we will give a paper or presentation on case studies that we have seen or claims occurring. [This could be for] that year or in the previous years or any trends which we see occurring, or any lessons to be learned from that.
And finally, we launched a project just over a year ago which we called the Lessons Learnt Project. Basically, it is short film created from the data which we have going back years and years - from those incident reports. We have shortened them into a short form video, 3 to 5 minutes maximum, and at the end of the video, we ask the crew to reflect. It [works on] the theory of reflective learning, reflect on what you have seen, and the main questions being; “Why won’t these incidents happen on your ship?”
JM: “Based on your experience in the industry, if you could offer one piece of advice to make shipping operations safer, what would that be?”
SE: Safety must come before operations. Safety has to come before any operations onboard a vessel, with it being led by culture. If there is a culture on board where safety is first, not just on board but from the top (CEO level down), anyone on board or anyone in the office should have the confidence in the culture to put a stop to any job they feel is unsafe.
“The safety culture must be adopted within the industry, and the industry has to start sitting up and taking note of the losses that we still see, and happen tragically, on board ships.”
JM: “Many of our viewers are going to be watching this from the US. Is it fair to say that America is an important market for you?”
AT: “Yes, America is, and has been for a very long time, an important market to the Club. About 20% of the premium drawn by the Club comes from the US, and we’ve marked that in a number of ways.
“We first opened an office in America in 1979, and by the early 1990s we had a fully functioning claims syndicate in the US - and still do today. Which has been really important to build that strong bond between the UK Club and the US market through that local service being able to operate with US expertise, in the US time zone. I really hope that relationship can continue for many years to come.”
The UK P&I Club is one of the oldest P&I clubs in the world. It provides Protection and Indemnity insurance in respect of third-party liabilities and expenses arising from owning ships or operating ships as principals. One of the largest mutual marine protection and indemnity organisations, it insures over 239 million tonnes of owned and chartered ships from more than fifty countries across the globe.
Connect with UK P&I Club at CMA Shipping 2019!