One of the leading maritime law firms Hill Dickinson ran a successful day-long conference on maritime casualties at the ‘must-attend’ event of 2015 London International Shipping Week (LISW).
The event Maritime Casualties: Managing the Operational Commercial and Legal Risks took place on Tuesday and was chaired by former editor of Lloyd’s List Michael Grey.
Captain Nick Sloane, salvage master of the Costa Concordia, was among the high-profile list of speakers. He discussed managing the largest-ever wreck removal project; the challenges faced in bringing the vessel upright; and protecting the environment and returning the waters to the people of Giglio. This was followed by a lively question and answer session on the Parbuckling Project.
He was joined by Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention who addressed the UK’s approach to the management of casualties and ports of refuge.
New York based lawyer George Chalos of Chalos & Co, P.C. completed the bill of speakers from outside the firm. He addressed the issue of the exposure to criminalisation of companies, superintendents and company officers in the context of a casualty in the USA. The thought-provoking conference also considered the progress of the EU in respect of ports of refuge and whether the EU’s approach is a model that could be adopted for use elsewhere in the world.
Hill Dickinson believes the issue of ports of refuge was “particularly timely” – given that the EU conducted a drill in Malta the week before LISW to test the new procedures. Delegates at the conference also had the opportunity to understand how management of this issue will move forward on a regional basis.
Two of Hill Dickinson’s master mariner partners, Mike Mallin from the Hong Kong office and Ian MacLean from the London office, also spoke at the conference, particularly on the need to proactively manage the lifecycle of a casualty, with the aim of ensuring that a vessel recommences commercial operation as soon as is practical following an incident. Mr MacLean examined the ‘wrongs’ when an incident first occurs that could lead to commercial loss. There was also a focus on how to control legal costs by looking at settlement as an alternative option to litigation where disputes arise.
Hill Dickinson has one of the strongest casualty teams in the business consisting of eight former mariners, five of whom are partners, assisted by nearly 100 shipping specialists, offering support through the full range casualty-related issues such as contractual disputes, third party claims, pollution, salvage, insurance, personal injury, passenger claims and compensation, managing the local authorities, courts of enquiry and coroners’ courts.
The company is also known for the expertise of its top tier international commodities team where Jeff Isaacs, Fred Konynenburg, Paul Taylor and David Lucas are consistently singled out as leading practitioners.
Hill Dickinson also held a second seminar focusing on issues that arise from the international sale of commodities. A number of high-profile speakers from the commodities trades presented the seminar together with speakers from Hill Dickinson’s own commodities team.