IMO’s Legal Committee (21-25 March) approved a circular on Guidance on the impact of the situation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov on insurance or other financial security certificates. (LEG.1/Circ.12).  This followed the decision of the IMO Council at its Extraordinary Session (C.ES/35) earlier in March to request IMO Committees to consider ways to enhance the efforts of Member States and observer organizations in supporting affected seafarers and commercial vessels and consider the implications of this situation for the implementation of the Organization's instruments, take appropriate action and report back to Council.

The circular notes that a number of relevant IMO liability and compensation treaties require that State Parties issue certificates attesting that insurance or other financial security which meets the requirements of the conventions is in force. The introduction of economic sanctions may in some cases restrict the insurers or other financial security providers from processing claims or prohibit the payment of claims arising under these conventions.  

The circular recommends, in particular, that flag or certifying States issuing certificates based on Russian insurers or Russian financial security providers should verify that the coverage meets the criteria outlined in Circular Letter No.3464 - which provides guidance for accepting “Blue Cards” or similar documentation from insurance companies for specified treaties.  

The Legal Committee addressed a number of other important items, including seafarer abandonment; measures to prevent unlawful practices associated with fraudulent registration and fraudulent registers of ships; and Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). 

Read the full summary here.