UAE clamps down on smaller P&I clubs

In a move to clamp down on shady ships joining its ship registry, the United Arab Emirates Maritime Administration has issued a circular demanding all clubs not in the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs who insure any UAE-flagged ship need to furnish the country’s regulators with more information. 

The smaller P&I clubs have until the end of this month to show they have an S&P Global ratings not lower than ‘A’ rate, as well as providing a list of claims of more than $10m or details of the five largest claims. The insurers must also provide evidence of membership under a recognised maritime related professional agency or regulatory body as well showing proof they have professional indemnity insurance to limit not less than $10m. 

There are more than 700 ships operating today in what data analytics firm brands the opaque fleet, carrying Russian, Venezuelan or Iranian oil with Dubai emerging as one of the key cities for Russian tanker players in the 16 months since war in Ukraine erupted. 

Among shared characteristics making dark tankers easy to spot for port state control inspectors are their age, generally above 17 years old, as well as their choice of flag, insurer, as well as their classification society choice.

“The simple fact is that a growing number of vessels that are transporting oil are insured, flagged, and classed with institutions and countries that do not provide anything like the same technical and regulatory oversight as we have come to expect whilst those providing the insurance cover lack the experience and quite possibly the financial capacity to deal with a major incident,” commented Mike Salthouse, a sanctions expert and head of external affairs at NorthStandard, a P&I club.

“P&I Clubs are scratching their heads because this is not about breaking compliance rules, but about raw, naked accident risk and oil on feathers which will set decent shipping back to 1990,” one shipmanagement source mentioned earlier this year.

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