Thursday, April 15, 2021

Beware Missed Covid Test Results as Indemnity Insurers Pay Out but Warn of Negligence

Four Parties Failure to Notice Positive Test Costs Dear
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – The International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC), which provides indemnity insurance for many in the fields of transport, including the maritime sector, has highlighted the importance of thoroughly checking the results of crew Covid-19 tests in a recent case handled by the insurer.

The case involved a ship manager arranging a crew change in Manila. The change was undertaken by the manager’s appointed port agent and all relevant Covd-19 protocols were followed. With the new crew on board, the vessel resumed its voyage and sent its port entry and free pratique (the licence to enter a port) documentation to the discharge port.

However, both the agent and the local authorities at the discharge port discovered in the documentation that one of the crew who signed on at Manila had tested positive for Covid-19. Unfortunately, the positive test result had been missed by the ship manager, the port agent at Manila, the health immigration authorities and the vessel’s master.

As a result, the vessel was ordered to return to Manila to test the entire crew and make replacements as necessary. Additionally, the ship had to be disinfected. The delays totalled six days in Manila plus five additional steaming days.

The vessel owners put in a claim to the ship managers for around US$ 350,000. However, through negotiation, the claim was eventually settled at US$ 175,000 as a number of parties had failed to spot the positive test, including the owners themselves, not just the ship manager.

ITIC has reimbursed the ship manager but encourages all parties to remain vigilant and to check documentation thoroughly. Covid-19 testing is likely to be a feature of seafaring life for some time to come, and a simple oversight such this can result in costly delays to the vessel and its cargo as well as causing unwelcome disruption for the crew.