The online tool, first released by North in February, was formally launched via the IG website this week. It details the extent of COVID-19 and the numerous response measures that have been introduced in a single digital dashboard, including country and port specific advice for shipowners, charterers, operators and others.
The interactive tool draws on information provided by IG club correspondents worldwide, as well as the International Maritime Organization and World Health Organization. Data also comes from Wilhelmsen Ship Management and ship agency company GAC, while the dashboard includes a continuously updated map of the pandemic’s spread from John Hopkins University.
“Delivering up-to-date information from well-respected international sources, combined with the insights from the P&I club members of the IG, this new tool will help the maritime community better understand and track the extent of COVID-19 worldwide,” said North Chief Executive Paul Jennings. “This can help protect businesses and most importantly safeguard the lives of the seafarers whom we depend upon daily to keep our local communities supplied with essential goods.”
In freely sharing its proprietary intellectual property and information, North contributed to inter-club cooperation at a critical time and delivered on the IG’s ‘collectively stronger’ approach, said Jennings, who is also International Group Chairman. Live updates on the number of confirmed cases of the virus, countries at risk and what to look out for would put stakeholders in a better position to identify commercial risks and physical threats to shipping, he added.
“I would like to thank those P&I clubs and their teams that have led and supported this initiative, which is fully in tune with the IG’s objectives of sharing data and loss prevention initiatives to improve safety at sea and within the maritime industry.”
To date, enquiries made to North related to COVID-19 have focused on the way port precautions and border measures were hindering crew repatriations, and problems in delivering general medical care. Jennings said other early issues to emerge included repair contracts for vessels at shipyards and when force majeure provisions might apply, and bespoke COVID-19 clauses into charter parties. For the moment, the cargo claims situation was “masked”, he said.