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P&I clubs cast doubts on Civil Liability Directive


BRUSSELS, Belgium—Protection and indemnity clubs are charging the European Parliament's proposed Civil Liability Directive (Maritime transport: civil liability and financial guarantees of shipowners) will do little to improve maritime safety, while increasing litigation that will slow compensation to victims of marine accidents.

The directive, scheduled for a March 28 plenary vote, "will not achieve its objectives of promoting maritime safety, and preventing and repairing damage to the environment," the International Group of P&I Clubs said in a statement.

Furthermore, a new test for gross negligence in the proposed directive "is likely to have a direct impact on the cover provided by, and the operation of, the International Group," the group charged.

The European Parliament claims in a briefing that the proposed directive is needed because "civil liability regimes for shipowners in Europe are not harmonized and no compulsory insurance scheme exists."

The directive seeks to establish "core rules," the briefing stated, which will apply to all European Union member states and govern "civil liability, insurance for shipowners and the liability of any person responsible for operating a ship."

The International Group said the directive "deals with issues which are extremely complex" and the group has "real concerns about the legal confusion and increased litigation that would result from the proposals. In the end, this would be detrimental to the quick and effective compensation of victims," according to the group.