January: CIRCULAR 1A/2012

Regulation of Insurance of Ship Owners for Maritime Claims in Spain

The Royal Decree 1616/2011 dated 14 November 2011 regarding the Insurance of Civil Vessels for Maritime Claims, was published in the Spanish Official Bulletin on 15th November 2011 and entered into force on 31st December 2011.

This Royal Decree transposes into the domestic Spanish Law the European Parliament and Council Directive 2009/20/EC dated 23rd April 2009, which stipulates that each Member State shall require ship owners of vessels flying the Member State flag and vessels flying a flag other than the Member State flag and entering ports under the Member State jurisdiction, to have an insurance in place to cover maritime claims subject to limitation under the 1996 Protocol to the International Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims.

The Royal Decree 1616/2011 applies to vessels of 300 GT or more, flying the Spanish flag or other States flags and that enter to Spanish ports or are operating in the Spanish territorial waters – in accordance with the applicable international conventions.

The insurance providers can be:
a) Insurance entities that have obtained the authorization from the Spanish Government to operate in Spain under the corresponding branch.
b) Insurance entities or offices based in an European Economic Area authorized to operate in the corresponding branch
c) International P&I Group Clubs

An original certificate or certified copy of the certificate – if not in English, French or Spanish language, with an authenticated translation – shall remain on board the vessel at all times. The minimum contents of the certificate are:
a) Name of the vessel, IMO number and port of registry.
b) Ship Owner’s name and principal place of business
c) Type and duration of the insurance
d) Name and principal place of business of the provider of the insurance

The Harbour Masters will control and inspect that the above mentioned certificates are aboard the vessels when entering into Spanish Ports.

The non compliance with the required insurance cover and certificate will constitute a severe infraction to the maritime safety (article 307.2.k) and maritime traffic (article 307.3.c) as regulated in the Spanish Ports Law 2/2011, with sanctions up to 180.000 EUR and 120.000 EUR.

In the occurrence that another European Union Member State issues an expulsion order, this order being notified to the Spanish Maritime Administration, the General Directorate of Merchant Marine will issue a motivated resolution denying access of such vessel into Spanish Ports. The access denial will remain in force until the ship owner can provide before the Maritime Administration the corresponding certificate.

The Spanish Ministry of Development is authorized to regulate the expulsion procedure and develop the system to control the vessel’s operating in Spanish territorial waters.