Complex environments covers those countries and jurisdictions which represent a hostile threat to those seeking to trade there. More often than not this means there is a physical threat to the ship and crew. Others countries, expose the ship to a capricious legal system which can see lengthy and politically motivated detentions which give rise to immediate contractual issues but long term may see the vessel exposed to total loss under war risk policies.
Evolving and ever more draconian regimes of sanctions exist in Iran, Venezuela and Russia in particular, but there are others like Sudan and Libya. Some of these countries also harbour warring factions who are a direct threat to the safety of the maritime adventure. However, there are countries who are seen as friendly like Saudi Arabia who are part of their own coalition against Iran which has seen vessels calling into Yemen exposed to robust and lengthy inspection regimes and even confiscation. Other jurisdictions expose ships to the perils of smuggling and arrest, often for long periods as crimes are investigated. Those are made worse when crew members are wrongly implicated. Nigeria is a hotspot for criminal and piratical activity against the ships which sees kidnapped crew or stolen cargo in extended duration robberies. We have experience in all these difficult places often working with your insurers to bring things to a resolution.
Apart from the physical and practical issues that arise there are also potential contractual claims. Whether you are a charterer or an owner you will want to know:
- whether an order to proceed is lawful
- if trouble arises in port whether you can leave and what the consequences of that are
- whether relevant ports are legally safe
- the duty towards crews and
- the obligations towards cargo.