Association of Average Adjusters reports challenges in “extraordinary year”

At the Association of Average Adjusters recent virtual annual general meeting, chairman Michael Starmans said that “the association has continued vigorously to serve the marine market and support its members professionally in the face of a most extraordinary year with the Pandemic putting nearly all Association events on hold.”

Starmans said that the Association’s representative on the Lloyd’s Salvage Group, Amy O’Neill, was among signatories of a letter from the Group objecting to plans by Lloyd’s to phase out the Lloyd’s Salvage Arbitration Branch (LSAB). The letter insisted that the role of the LSAB was crucial to the independence and integrity of the Lloyd’s Open Form salvage contract, to ensure prompt provision of security, appointment of arbitrators, enforcement of awards and distribution of reports. Starmans said that “it remains to be seen if the LSAB will be put in run-off towards the end of this year”, adding that “but considering the number of responses issued by various international maritime organisations, we are hopeful that this plan by Lloyd’s will be withdrawn.”

Operations in March 2021 to refloat ULCV Ever Given, which ran aground blocking traffic in the Suez Canal, underlined the vital function of salvors, claimed Starmans. “It will be interesting to see how this salvage case, involving one of the largest containerships with over 20,000 teu on board, progresses,” he observed.

He welcomed the appointment by Ever Given owner Shoei Kisen of one of the Association’s member firms as General Average adjuster. However, Starmans said that it was disturbing that the Suez Canal Authority had demanded what was considered by the UK P&I Club to be excessive security.