Circular 8/98: International Group Agreement (IGA)

TO THE MEMBERS

5/98 dated March, 1998, a further meeting took place on 3rd April between representatives of the International Group and officials from DCIV, but no progress was made either on the Group's application to renew the 1985 exemption for the Agreement or on the issue of the limit on Club cover.

Dear Sirs,

INTERNATIONAL GROUP AGREEMENT (IGA)

Subsequent to the Association's circular reference

On 6th April the Commission gave formal notice of the Oral Hearing that the Group had requested in its September, 1997 Response and this took place in Brussels on 27th April.

At the Hearing the Group presented its case on both issues to an audience which included representatives of three E.U. Directorates and of fifteen competition authorities from E.U. and E.E.A. states.

Senior shipowners from around the world spoke on behalf of the Group, emphasising the necessity of the Agreement to ensure fair rating between shipowners and to maintain the cohesion of the Group pool, and supporting the new limit on Club cover. In addition, Lord Donaldson affirmed the Group's importance to the shipping industry and spoke of its promotion of higher standards on board ships; Mr Stephen Hirst, Chairman of Sedgwick Global Marine, testified to the strength of competition between the Clubs; and Mr Espen Komnaes, the Oslo-based lawyer who acted for the dependants of those killed in the 'Estonia' tragedy, spoke of the speed and flexibility of a Group Club's handling of claims from a major casualty.

Representatives of the Union of Greek Shipowners and of the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee supported the Agreement but argued against the limit on cover.

It is hoped that the Group's presentation will have improved understanding of its case both in Brussels and throughout the E.U. and E.E.A. states. Members will be kept advised of further significant developments as they occur.

Yours faithfully

THOS R. MILLER & SON (BERMUDA)

,

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