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2020 Financial Statements – Britannia Declares Another Strong Set of Results


  • Satisfactory year with an underwriting surplus of USD29.3m
  • Strong investment return (7%) yielding USD61.9m
  • Increase in total capital resources net of USD25m capital distribution
  • Steady tonnage growth during the year and a strong 2020/21 renewal
  • The Association is well placed to meet the financial and operational challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic

Financial overview

After a third consecutive renewal with a zero general increase, total calls and premiums for 2019/20 were down marginally on the prior year.  However, lower claims incurred in the financial year resulted in a satisfactory underwriting surplus of USD29.3m and a net loss ratio of 79.9% (2018/19 – 83.8%).  The well diversified investment portfolio produced a strong return of 7% overall, with equities being the strongest performer at 16.5%.  All asset classes produced a positive result and the overall investment gain was USD61.9m, nearly twice the long-term target.

Capital resources grew by USD31.4m, after taking account of the USD25m capital distribution made to mutual Members in the year and remain above the economic capital target set by the Board.

In the period immediately after the year end, investment markets were impacted by the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and much of the investment gain made during the year was reversed.  However, the Association’s strong financial position leaves it well placed to face the challenges posed by the uncertain global economic conditions likely to be experienced in the months and years ahead.


The aggregate value of retention claims incurred during the 2019/20 policy year was in line with expectations and was USD20m lower than the previous year at the equivalent stage. The number of notified claims was 4% lower than in the previous year. Whilst claims within the International Group Pool were higher than recent policy years reserves held against Britannia’s share of those claims have been set at a level sufficient to absorb any further deterioration.

Chairman’s statement

Commenting on the results for the year ended 20 February 2020 and the outlook for the current year, the Association’s Chairman, Anthony Firmin, stated:

“Britannia continues its mission to be the finest provider of P&I and FD&D insurance and for 2019/20 has achieved another strong set of results. The Association’s robust operating model and financial strength also allows it to support our Members through further investment in service, including IT and our regional hubs.  We recognise that since 20 February 2020, COVID-19 has had a material impact on the world economy and the maritime sector.  Despite the majority of our staff worldwide currently having to work from home, we are maintaining ‘business as usual’ standards of service and we do not anticipate that the effect of COVID-19 will have a material impact on Britannia’s own claims for the 2020/21 policy year.

Britannia’s Review of the Year – 20 February 2020 is available on the Association’s website.

Jo Rodgers, CFO, Tindall Riley (Britannia) Ltd:            +44 (0)7921 233714
Andrew Cutler, CEO, Tindall Riley (Britannia) Ltd:         +44 (0)7738 997329

20 Feb 2020 20 Feb 2019 20 Feb 2018
(gt million) (gt million) (gt million)
Entered tonnage (owned) 117.5 112.0 107.0
Entered tonnage (chartered) 45.0 19.0 20.0
USD(000) USD(000) USD(000)
Calls and premiums 201,185 204,415 208,147
Net claims incurred (111,667) (119,600) (93,552)
Investment income 61,868 (2,643) 48,626
Net operating expenses (31,891) (28,649) (25,666)
Net income after taxation 56,427 (9,297) 80,615
Free reserves* 422,088 390,660 429,957
Net loss ratio 79.9% 83.8% 61.4%
Average expense ratio 11.5% 10.9% 9.7%
Standard & Poor’s rating A (stable) A (stable) A (stable)

*The Association benefits from a reinsurance contract with Boudicca Insurance Company Limited.


In line with their legal and regulatory obligations, all clubs in the International Group maintain sophisticated sanctions compliance programs and procedures. The rules and procedures developed by clubs to manage sanctions risks take account of the guidance provided by bodies such as the UN Security Council (UNSC), the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), the US State Department and the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  Through their systems of circulars and news alerts, clubs also seek to keep their members up to date on recent developments with respect to sanctions.
The ability to track vessels using their AIS (Automatic Identification System) signals has become an increasingly important part of clubs’ sanctions compliance programs.  All International Group clubs have now agreed a common minimum standard of tracking.
Review of vessel tracking software
In order to ensure that clubs were fully aware of capabilities of the products available in this fast-developing area, a working group carried out in-depth discussions with service providers to better understand the technology available to monitor vessel movements in high risk areas.  These products were subsequently trialed against the software currently utilized by clubs.  All Group clubs have now entered into agreements with commercial providers to track the movements of their entered vessels.
Introduction of a common standard for vessel tracking
All clubs share the common goals of ensuring their members are aware of the sanctions framework in which they operate and that their members’ vessels are not traded in violation of applicable sanctions.  The agreed common minimum standard of vessel tracking in high risk areas helps to identify activities such as port calls in sanctioned countries, abnormal navigation, manipulation and/or switching off a vessel’s AIS transmitter, and STS operations in high risk areas.
P&I clubs can use the information received from the tracking provider to reach out to members to ensure that they are fully aware of the sanctions which may impact on their trading patterns and the due diligence steps that can be taken to ensure no sanctions are violated.  The information can also be used to mitigate the risk of the club inadvertently providing cover to a vessel which is violating sanctions.
Limitations of AIS tracking
As highlighted in Club Circular No. 03/19 of January 11, 2019, an indicator of potential evasion activity is when a vessel inexplicably diverts course or ceases to transmit its AIS signal. However, routine monitoring of a vessel’s AIS transmissions is not a complete answer when it comes to identifying potential evasion activity.   A suggestion that a vessel may be “going dark”, be engaged in “dark activity” or having its AIS “turned off”, simply because no signal is received, can be misleading.  This is because there are several possible reasons why no AIS signal may be received. For example:
  1. The issue may not be on the vessel but with the receipt of the AIS signal, particularly in areas of high-density traffic. This is a common problem.
  2.  Different commercial providers use different AIS receivers and so just because one provider shows no AIS signal being received, another service may evidence an AIS signal being successfully transmitted.
  3. As has been highlighted in US shipping advisories, vessel spoofing may take place by other ships transmitting a false AIS and using the IMO number (the unique vessel identification code) of a different vessel.  An inevitable consequence of such spoofing is that innocent vessel owners can be surprised to learn that their vessel is falsely reported as being potentially thousands of miles from its actual location and be accused of sanctions evasion.
  4. The Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) provides that ships fitted with AIS shall maintain AIS in operation at all times except where international agreements, rules or standards provide for the protection of navigational information; a failure to operate a vessel’s AIS equipment in accordance with the requirements of SOLAS breaches flag state requirements. However, SOLAS permits an AIS transmitter to be turned off for safety and security reasons and therefore where the transmitter has been turned off, there may be a justifiable reason for this.
  5. Where a ship is not in compliance with flag state requirements the owner risks prejudicing cover under P&I club rules. There will also be grounds to deny P&I cover on the basis of imprudent or unlawful trading where an owner trades his vessel in breach of sanctions, disguising its location by manipulating or withholding the transmission of AIS data.
Notwithstanding these limitations, the routine monitoring of AIS transmission has an important role to play as part of the Club’s continuing efforts to comply with applicable sanctions legislation and deprive cover to vessels engaged in sanctions breaking.  However, monitoring of AIS signals alone cannot ensure effective sanctions compliance. It is only one piece of the full picture.  Other non-AIS data systems can also assist in effective vessel monitoring programs together with ship security alert systems and data provided by flag states.  Analysis of the raw data by experts is also essential.  Satellite imagery is an increasingly useful additional tool.
All International Group clubs are committed to monitoring vessels in high risk areas and minimizing risk for their members and have issued a similarly worded circular.
Yours faithfully,
Joseph E.M. Hughes, Chairman & CEO
Shipowners Claims Bureau, Inc., Managers for
All Clubs in the International Group of P&I Clubs have issued similar Circulars

The UK P&I Club (“The UK Club”), a leading provider of P&I insurance and other services to the international shipping community, announces its financial results for the year ended 20 February 2020.

The Club’s financial position remains strong as free reserves increased by $54 million to $559 million as at 20 February 2020. This was driven by exceptional investment returns of 9.6% for the year. The Club continues to meet all its regulatory capital requirements and Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed the Club’s A (Stable) rating in December 2019.

The Club benefited from reasonably good large claims experience for the year, however premium rates have been insufficient to cover the cost of claims and expenses. Members have benefited from significantly reduced rates across the P&I sector over recent years, leading to the Club’s combined ratio of 120% for the year, which continues to be above the Club’s acceptable range. Although the cost of large claims is high, there remains the need for future action on premium rates.

The underwriting result for the year demonstrates the importance of scale and strong capital. The Club remains financially strong with Free Reserves increasing $54 million to $559 million and an A (Stable) rating from S&P.
Source: UK P&I Club

The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has welcomed Bond TM as the primary partner for its new online toolkit for superyacht crew.

A survey conducted by ISWAN in 2018 found that 82% of superyacht crew experienced low crew morale sometimes, often or always, and 55% of female respondents found accessing mental health care to be an occasional or regular challenge. In order to be more visible to superyacht crew in need, ISWAN has been fundraising for Yacht Crew Help – a new online toolkit to provide crew with a direct line to free, 24-hour emotional support, guidance, and useful health and welfare resources.

Alongside gallant fundraising efforts from Colin Squire of Yachting Matters and Captain Brendan O’Shannassy, President of the ISS Captain’s Committee, Bond TM have contributed a generous €10,000 to help make the new platform a reality.

Will Faimatea, Director and Founder of Bond TM, said: ‘Having previously been crew for many years I recognise the topic of mental health is an issue like it is everywhere but obtaining support and assistance whilst you are crew can be difficult. Crew wellbeing is an area that can easily be overlooked.

‘After reading an article by Colin Squire about the drive to raise funds for Yacht Crew Help I spoke to Brendan O’Shannassy and Caitlin Vaughan whilst they were on the path of this project and they explained what they were trying to achieve. As well as the helpline this project increases awareness in the industry that the mental health and wellbeing of crew is just as important as it is in other walks of life and everyone should learn to recognise any warning signs for themselves and in others and do what they can to assist.

‘With Yacht Crew Help crew will not have to search too far to obtain help if they think they may need it and the fact that they know help is close by may offer support and comfort. Contributing back to the yacht industry that I am proud to be part of is in itself rewarding but what makes this even more worthwhile is being able to contribute to ISWAN to start Yacht Crew Help for those who may need it.’

Captain Brendan O’Shannassy said, as an experienced Captain, he recognises the greatest challenge at sea is creating a safe environment where crew’s mental health and wellness are core values: ‘The awareness of this priority across the maritime industry is not where it should be, and neither are the support and educational tools. The ISWAN initiative is a huge step in the right direction to improve crew wellness, resilience, mental health and in turn performance.’

ISWAN’s Project Manager Caitlin Vaughan said: ‘We have been so fortunate to be supported by wonderful people and organisations within the superyacht industry who recognise the need for accessible mental health support for crew. We’re delighted to be partnering with Bond TM whose industry expertise will be invaluable to the development of the toolkit.’

Further generous pledges are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, including the final amount raised by a fundraising effort from Burgess. ISWAN would also like to thank MHG Insurance Brokers and wilsonhalligan who provided the initial support needed for ISWAN’s 2018 research and widely acknowledged report on The Welfare of Superyacht Crew.

Fundraising continues to support the operation of ISWAN’s helpline for seafarers and efforts to address the recommendations in ISWAN’s superyacht crew welfare research report. Companies, organisations and individuals wishing to show their support can do so at

Yacht Crew Help would not have been possible without the support of Bond TM and ISWAN looks forward to working in partnership on this new platform to support superyacht crew worldwide.


Source: British Ports Association, 2020-05-20

The British Ports Association (BPA) has today published an economic recovery plan for government that highlights how investment in ports can play a part in the UK’s healing from the deepest economic shock in living memory. Included in the proposals are a Green Maritime Fund to drive sustainable development and help stimulate growth consistent with Net Zero aims. A key message is to energise our ports by igniting their potential to fire up the economy.

The document outlines a framework for recovery, providing government with ideas on how to unlock the untapped potential of UK ports to drive growth; supporting a recovery process that brings all of the regions of the UK along with it – to create a stronger Britain than ever before. It focuses on three key areas to kick start economic activity:

  • Continued medium-term cash flow and business support
  • A massive scaling up of the UK’s infrastructure ambitions including a Green Maritime Fund for sustainable development
  • A bold and broad-based inclusive Freeports and fast track planing policy

Divided into short, medium and long-term initiatives, the plan outlines how government can utilise ports and the wider maritime industry, not only to administer first aid to the economy in its first steps towards recovery but to prevent economic aftershocks and stimulate growth for years to come. This plan is for 2020 and beyond.

Commenting, Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive at the British Ports Association said “The Covid-19 crisis has been unprecedented in both the speed at which it has hit and the depth. Many ports have seen significant drops in volumes in activity which were impossible to predict and the impact is likely to be felt over the medium-term as the health crisis eases but the economic impact bites.

Ports are key national and regional hubs for economic activity and jobs. However collected by the BPA shows that just 36% of our ports feel confident about their business outlook over the next 12 months so we need Government to fan the flames of their potential to spark wider economic benefits. Help ports and you help the country.

The BPA is, therefore, proposing the following three packages; Continued medium-term cash flow and business support; a massive scaling up of the UK’s infrastructure ambitions; and a bold and broad-based Freeports policy and port zoning strategy. We are promoting a Green Maritime Fund to provide a pro Net Zero development and growth agenda.

These packages offer a path to prosperity in the long-term while promoting sustainable growth and helping ports to realise their potential in what is likely to be the most challenging economic climate for a generation. Ports have the ambition to lead the country to a new future.

A key message is that we want energise our ports by igniting their potential to fire up the economy. Let’s make it happen.”

1. Continued medium-term cash flow and business support

According to data collected by the BPA, 86% of ports have seen either substantial or severe impacts on shipping and customer activities. However, ports are not only seeing a vast impact on their commercial activity but facing requests for assistance to help keep port users afloat too. Furthermore, 32% of ports are now concerned about borrowings and banking covenants. The government must, therefore, support investment and cash flow in the short-term.

Measures outlined within the plan including a government factoring service. This would allow ports and other businesses to raise funds in the short term. The BPA also highlights how a deferral of business rates backed by central Government would also free up capital to help cash flow.

Looking ahead, the BPA is asking government to support skills development to ensure retaining and developing people is not a cost burden.

2. A massive scaling up of the UK’s infrastructure ambitions

Without a doubt, investment in infrastructure will play a fundamental role in securing the UK’s future prosperity. Infrastructure investments are entirely cost-effective; when money is channelled into infrastructure, returns to the economy are multiplied. Measures outlined within the plan include a UK Infrastructure Bank and a Green Maritime Fund.

The BPA welcomes government’s sustainability objectives but stresses that significant investment will be required to achieve these targets. The BPA is, therefore, proposing government adopts a Green Maritime Fund, to unlock capital, aid the growth of the sector while also taking steps towards the Government’s most critical long-term policy aims. The BPA will also shortly be publishing a paper that explores how to overcome the barriers to ship-to-shore power.

3. A bold and broad-based inclusive Freeports policy

The UK government is in the process of developing a UK-wide strategy on Freeports, and the BPA will be outlining our views further within our response to the consultation. However, we have identified several imperative conditions of the UK Freeport model to unlock the untapped potential of the UK’s coastal communities – leaving no region behind through this process – by drawing investment into manufacturing and logistics

We urge the government not to limit its ambition to the previously suggested 10 site proposals as there is a real danger of the leaving some regions behind by limiting the scope. We also ask that government reclassifies ‘port zones’ with improved planning, fiscal and regulatory status.


The Loss Prevention team at UK P&I Club has launched a new series of Risk Awareness guides which identify the myriad risks and threats onboard, and the controls that can be implemented to mitigate them.

The series of guides are being released over the course of 2020 and will cover a vast range of vessel types, including tankers, bulk carriers, containerships and passenger vessels.

The first in the series ‘Risk Awareness – Bulk Carriers, General Cargo & Reefers’ , an aid to risk identification and loss reduction, was recently published and identifies the common risks posed to these vessel types and methods to avoid or minimise them.

The guide provides a colour coded checklist to denote the various elements in the risk awareness process:

  • Threat – a variable that if not controlled could cause a P&I incident
  • Consequence – the monetary cost to the Club or Member
  • Control – measures which reduces the possibility of a ‘threat’ causing an incident

The series of guides provide the ‘controls’ and key points the UK Club’s Risk Assessors look for when inspecting a vessel and allows all Members to carry out similar checks on the ‘threats’ and ‘controls’ to make sure all vessels have a good risk profile. Each guide in the Risk Assessment series deals with an area of risk, whether it is personal injury, collision, pollution and each area is sub-divided into ‘threats’, ‘consequences’ and ‘controls’.

The first guide on Cargo Claims looks at threats including wet damage, cargo securing, theft, cargo temperature, contamination/infestation, ventilation and fire damage. Once scores have been attributed to these threats, controls such as damage limitation and emergency procedures, as well as the adequacy of emergency equipment and record keeping checklists are provided to mitigate claims.  The guides aim to provide ‘controls’ to ensure ‘threats’ are contained and ‘incidents’ do not happen.

UK P&I Club operates a full-time, worldwide loss prevention team, servicing its Members and wider maritime industry through proactive and inclusive loss prevention support. The team provides technical and operational advice as well as participating in crew seminars and training days.

To download the first Risk Assessment guide in the series, please visit:


  • PdVsA has been made a target of U.S. sanctions and added to the OFAC SDN list.
  • A number of General Licences have been issued with authorisations of varying duration to allow U.S. persons to wind down existing business with PdVSA or its subsidiaries.
  • FAQs issued by OFAC suggest (but do not explicitly confirm) that non-U.S. persons may continue to do business with PdVSA and its subsidiaries without risk of sanctions provided that restrictions on U.S. persons are observed.
  • Members are therefore recommended to exercise caution in dealings with PdVSA and subsidiaries, and to take legal advice if in any doubt as to whether any proposed transactions may incur a risk of U.S. sanctions.



Executive Order 13857 dated 25th January 2019, published by the U.S.Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), amends several previous Executive Orders to include Petroleos deVenezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) within the meaning of “Government of Venezuela”, thereby making PdVSA a sanctions target. PdVSA has also been added to the OFAC SDN list with effect from 28th January 2019.

Alongside the Executive Order, a number of general licenses have been issued, to authorise U.S. persons (both individuals and entities) to wind down or continue commercial activities relating to PdVSA and its subsidiaries, but requiring in some cases that payments can only be made to blocked accounts which PdVSA cannot access.

The following licenses,which it should be noted contain authorisations of varying lengths of validity,may be of particular relevance to Members who have business with PdVSA or its subsidiaries:

General License 7 – authorises (a) up to 27 July 2019, transactions and activities involving PDV Holding Inc (PDVH),CITGO Holding Inc. and their subsidiaries; (b) up to 28 April 2019, PDVH,CITGO Holding Inc. and their subsidiaries to engage in transactions and activities ordinarily incident and necessary to the purchase and importation of petroleum and petroleum products from PdVSA.

General License 8 – authorises up to 27 July 2019, all transactions and activities ordinarily incident and necessary to the operations inVenezuela involving PdVSA or its subsidiaries for: Chevron Corporation, Halliburton, Schlumberger Limited, Baker Hughes, andWeatherford International.

General License 11 – authorises up to 29 March 2019 (a) U.S. person employees and contractors of non-U.S. entities located outside of the U.S. andVenezuela to engage in all transactions and activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the maintenance or wind down of operations, contracts, or other agreements involving PdVSA and its subsidiaries, and (b) U.S. Financial institutions to reject funds transfers involving PdVSA and non-U.S. entities located outside of the U.S. orVenezuela.The GL expressly prohibits dealings with ALBA de Nicaragua (ALBANISA).

General License 12 – authorises (a) up to 28 April 2019, all transactions and activities ordinarily incident and necessary to the purchase and import into the United States of petroleum and petroleum products from PdVSA or its subsidiaries, and (b) up to 28 February 2019, all transactions ordinarily incidental and necessary to the wind down of operations, contracts, or other agreements, including the importation into the United States of goods, services, or technology not authorised under (a) involving PdVSA or its subsidiaries.

General License 13 – authorises up to 27 July 2019, all transactions where the only PdVSA entities involved are Nynas AB or any of its subsidiaries.

New FAQs providing guidance on the interpretation of the relevant Executive Orders and the General Licences have been published on the OFAC website with effect from 31 January 2019.

FAQ 657, set out below, addresses questions that may be of interest to Members who are non-U.S. persons involved in trade with PdVSA.

657. I am a non-U.S. entity that purchases petroleum and petroleum products from Petróleos deVenezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) or an entity in which PdVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest.Am I now prohibited from purchasing petroleum and petroleum products from these companies?

Transactions to purchase petroleum and petroleum products from PdVSA or any entity in which PdVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and that involve U.S. persons or any other U.S. nexus (e.g., transactions involving the U.S. financial system or U.S. commodity brokers) must be wound down byApril 28, 2019 pursuant toVenezuela-related General License 12. In addition, under General License 11,U.S. person employees and contractors of non-U.S. companies located in a country other the United States orVenezuela are authorized to engage in certain maintenance or wind-down transactions with PdVSA, or any entity in which PdVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time,March 29, 2019. (See FAQ 654.) [01-31-2019]

Members may note that the answer in FAQ 657 suggests, but does not explicitly say, that non-U.S. entities may continue to purchase petroleum and petroleum products from PdVSA and its subsidiaries, provided that restrictions on U.S. entities are observed.

FAQ 657 does not, however, address the effect of Section 1 (a) (iii) of EO 13850 which provides for the blocking of all property in the U.S. of “any person” (not limited to U.S. persons) who is determined – “to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of … any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.”

The Club’s legal counsel has therefore been asked whether a non-U.S. shipowner who provides ocean transportation for PdVSA would be at risk of being regarded as providing services in support of a blocked person. The Club’s legal counsel considers it unlikely that the U.S. intends to target non-U.S. persons, bearing in mind the absence of any explicit prohibition on PdVSA shipments to third countries and an absence of wind-down licenses for such shipments. It is also considered significant that there are no specific secondary sanctions directed against insurance of targeted trades or activities.

Members are nevertheless reminded that cover remains subject to the Club’s Rule 5V which would exclude the right of recovery from the Club in circumstances where such recovery may expose the Club to a sanction or other adverse action by a competent authority or government. Members who have trading relationships with PdVSA or its subsidiaries and who could potentially be affected by the sanctions are therefore recommended to exercise caution in their dealings with PdVSA or its subsidiaries and to take legal advice on proposed trades until the situation becomes clearer.