CREW – Claims Prevention & Claims Handling

CREW - Claims Prevention & Claims Handling - MASCOTMARITIME

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Crew – Claims prevention and claims handling

Claim prevention-The following steps by the company’s shore management team, the ship’s Master & crew can assist in reducing or avoiding crew claims.

  1. The choice of crew members should be done carefully & while choosing crew members, the compatibility of nationalities should be an important consideration.
  2. Pre-employment medical examinations should be done strictly.
  3.  A proper seafarer’s employment contract should be drawn & signed by the seafarer and the company representative, clearly setting out the crewmembers’ rights in the event of death, illness, or injury.
  4. On board the vessel, a safety officer is to be appointed to promote a safety culture on board the vessel. His duties should include:
  5. The regular inspection of decks, engine room, passageways, stairs, and crew quarters to ensure that any unsafe conditions are remedied immediately.
  6. The inspection, in conjunction with deck and engine room duty officers, of the ship’s gear and equipment to ensure proper maintenance.
  7. The implementation of safe working practices.                                                                                                                          
  8. Immediate attendance at the scene of an accident to:
  • Inspect the physical conditions and preserve any gear or equipment involved
  • Obtain full information for the preparation of the master’s report and log entries including taking a statement from the injured person, if possible.
  • Determine the circumstances which led to the accident to ensure that suitable measures are taken to avoid its recurrence.
  • The correct choice of hospitals in consultation with the Master, local agent & club correspondent to avoid unnecessarily high medical expenses.


Claims handling– The vessel’s safety officer along with the Master or his appointee should immediately investigate the circumstances which led to an accident on board the ship, and the facts should be reported in detail to the company head office & the P&I Club or its local correspondents at the earliest opportunity.

Depending on the seriousness of the accident further investigations will then be carried out by the local correspondents or specialist surveyors.

The Club’s correspondents will be able to assist the Master in any inquiry by the local authorities or police and, in the case of death, can arrange for the body to be brought ashore for possible autopsy and local burial and/or repatriation to the deceased’s country of origin. If a crew member requires hospitalization at a foreign port, the Club should be alerted immediately (directly by Head office or by the Master) so that its local correspondents can a ensure:

(a) that proper & correct treatment is given to the crew

(b) that repatriation is carried as soon as possible

(c) that costs are kept to a minimum and it is reasonable in accordance with local standards.

In certain countries, particularly the USA, accident compensation claims can be very high & may run into millions of dollars. Some Courts will assume jurisdiction even when the claim is brought by a foreign crew member against a vessel that has no connection with the country in question. Therefore, whenever a crew member suffers injuries onboard a ship, it is always advisable to ensure that he/she is well looked after & he/she receives full and proper treatment, and is repatriated as early as possible.

Lawyers in some countries often spend considerable time in hospitals looking for clients, and a crew member who feels that he has been abandoned by his employer is likely to be susceptible to such approaches.

The careful checking of hospital bills is to be carried out by the vessel’s agent & the club correspondent. Sometimes this checking can lead to considerable savings. In some cases, hospitals have kept a sick crew member longer than required or have overused medications. Some hospitals will place a crew member in the most expensive available accommodation unless they receive specific instructions to the contrary.

The master & all onboard senior management personnel should always be briefed about crew-claims prevention and claims handling procedures prior to joining a vessel in order to minimize the claim costs.

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