Royal Decree 128/2022 of 15 February on Port Reception Facilities for Ship Waste

As a consequence of the transposition of Directive (EU) 2019/883 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on port reception facilities for ship waste discharge, amending Directive 2010/65/EU and repealing Directive 2000/59/EC, Royal Decree 128/2022 of 15 February 2022 on Port Reception Facilities for Ship Waste was published on 16 February 2022.

The purpose of the aforementioned legal text is none other than to guarantee the protection of the marine environment from all those negative effects that might be caused by waste generated by ships and cargo residues from ships using Spanish ports. It also aims to ensure the proper functioning of maritime traffic, improving the availability and use of adequate port reception facilities, as well as the delivery of waste to these facilities.

The extension of the scope of application of this Royal Decree is one of the main innovations that it brings with it, as it now includes fishing vessels and sport or recreational vessels. Thus, this regulation will be applicable to all vessels, regardless of their flag, which call at or operate in Spanish ports, except those which are used to provide port services and State vessels. Likewise, in order to avoid unnecessary delays, in anchorages where the vessel does not carry out commercial operations of embarking and disembarking passengers or loading and unloading goods, provided that the call at anchorage is less than seven days, the obligation to discharge ship waste and pay the indirect tariff is exempted.

Another of the main updates is the application of this RD to waste caught unintentionally by fishing vessels, other unintentional catches, facilitating their collection at port waste-reception facilities free of charge; and the regulation of electronic communications through the SafeseaNetsystem, as established in Royal Decree 210/2004, of 6 February, which establishes a system for monitoring and reporting maritime traffic.

Finally, a cost recovery system is foreseen so that the costs of the ship waste reception service, excluding cargo residues, are borne by the ships themselves calling at or operating in Spanish ports through the payment of a fee, irrespective of whether they deliver the waste to a port reception facility or not. Thus, it seems that the government’s intention is that the fees should not discourage the delivery of waste.

The Royal Decree entered into force on 17 February 2022.

Comments on Supreme Court Judgment Nº 901/2021 in the “Spanair Case”

Back in 2019, in our article “Judgement of the Spanish Supreme Court in the Spanair crash case”, we pointed out that the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court in its judgment of 17 May 2019 no. 1513/2019 settled the question of the evaluation of personal injuries suffered in an air accident, by confirming the criteria of the Provincial Court of Barcelona, judgment no. 165/2016, of 12 July, and determining that, in the absence of regulation for the evaluation of personal injuries caused in aviation accidents, it was more appropriate to provide compensation based on the existing legal scale for personal injuries caused in motor vehicle accidents (RDL no 8/2004, of 29 October, approving the revised text of Civil Liability and Insurance Act in the Circulation of Motor Vehicles).

However, the judgement pointed out that the indicative use of the scale does not prevent the application of corrective criteria according to the circumstances of the sector of activity to which it refers. In the case of an air accident, due to its catastrophic nature and the other circumstances surrounding it, it is reasonable that the compensation resulting from the application of the scale be increased by an additional percentage, which in this case was set at 50 %.

Now, after years of litigation arising from the very serious plane crash suffered by the now defunct airline Spanair in 2008, resulting in the death of one hundred and fifty four people and eighteen injured, the recent Judgment of the Supreme Court no. 901/2021 of 21 December 2021 dismisses the extraordinary appeal for procedural infringement and the cassation appeals against judgment no 5/2018, of 8 January, of the Provincial Court of Madrid, filed by Mapfre Global Risks Compañía Internacional de Seguros y Reaseguros S.A., among others, to confirm that, without prejudice to other possible causes, the accident occurred as a result of an inadequate configuration of the aircraft to perform this maneouver, attributable to the pilot an co-pilot of the aircraft. Likewise, the court establishes hat Mapfre is civilly liable for the damages caused by the accident, as it was the insurer of the company Spanair at the time of the accident.

Furthermore, in line with the above, Judgment no 901/2021 in its Sixth Legal Basis states that, by using as a criterion for compensation the indicative application of the scale in the annex to Legislative Royal Decree no 8/2004, of 29 October, the Provincial Court did not violate the principle of indemnity in the compensation of damages or apply limitations to compensation for death or bodily injury, incompatible with the framework of the Montreal Convention and Regulation (EC) no. 2027/1997, as amended by Regulation (EC) no. 882/2002, of 13 May 2002.

Consequently, the insurer is ordered to pay compensation, the amount of which now exceeds four million Euro.

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) Continues to Deploy Drones to Monitor Emissions from Merchant Ships in EU Waters in 2022

According to the Roadmap of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), in 2022, which is now beginning, the development of the capabilities of remotely piloted aircraft, commonly known as drones (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems or RPAS), will continue, especially regarding the detection of possible pollutant emissions from merchant ships exceeding the limits established in Annex VI of the International Convention on Marine Pollution (MARPOL). Sulphur content limit for marine fuels is currently set at 0.5 % by mass.

By 2022, these drones are also expected to be able to monitor the NOx content of smoke from ships underway, in addition to the SOx mentioned above.

In fact, during 2021, emission control campaigns were already carried out with drones in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, Lithuania, France, and the Baltic Sea. Specifically, in relation to the deployment of the drone in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar between July and October, EMSA, together with the Directorate General of the Merchant Navy and Harbor Master of Algeciras, carried out a total of 319 controls on different merchant vessels while they were sailing through the Strait, detecting possible non-compliance in twenty-eight (28) of the vessels.

Although the readings obtained using these novel aerial means may be indicative of excess sulphur marine fuel consumption, they do not directly result in the initiation of a sanctioning proceeding or in the imposition of a penalty for the monitored vessel.  In order to corroborate the preliminary drone readings, a detailed Port State Control (PSC) inspection will always be required upon arrival of the ship in port, together with the corresponding sampling of the fuels used during the voyage.

After this inspection and chemical analysis of the fuel samples obtained, if the sulphur reading is above 0.5 % by mass, the corresponding Harbor Master’s Office will initiate an administrative sanctioning proceeding against the “ISM Manager” and against the master of the inspected vessel, and the vessel will be provisionally detained until sufficient guarantees have been provided at the discretion of the responsible Harbor Master’s Office.

The data obtained from the drone measurements are also communicated to the THETIS-EU database, also managed by EMSA. The purpose of this is to effectively monitor the non-compliance detected and to establish a system of alerts for the different maritime administrations of the Member States of the European Union, facilitating thus the taking of appropriate measures to prevent and/or sanction the aforementioned typified conducts.

P&I Clubs, a Key Player in Maritime Transport and Trade

Canal Marítimo y Logístico, a magazine specialised in maritime and logistics information, publishes in its November issue an article on P&I Clubs written by Verónica Meana, partner of our Madrid office.

This article finds its origins in the publication of the Preliminary Bill to amend the revised text of the Law on State Ports and the Merchant Marine, and the Law on Maritime Navigation, which, among other things, includes the reform of article 465 of the latter set of regulation due to doubts that exist nowadays about the admissibility of direct action against protection and compensation clubs. It is worth taking a step back and going to the origin of these organisations and how they work.

The reform adapts to the purpose of these associations which remain fundamental to the development of maritime transport and trade as they currently insure the civil liabilities of shipowners from all parts of the world.

In itself, the article covers the basic concepts, background, established responsibilities, as well as Spanish legislation related to this key piece of maritime transport and trade.

Read article published HERE

El Canal Marítimo y Logístico Highlights the Trajectory of AIYON Abogados since its Foundation

The journal El Canal Marítimo y Logístico analyses and highlights the trajectory of our firm since its foundation in 2015 and catalogues it as a model of success that continues to develop and grow.

The article confirms that, since the firm was founded more than six years ago, AIYON Abogados has formed a multidisciplinary, solid, and participative team of professionals, with marked quality standards in its services, and always respecting its concept of “boutique law firm” firmly connected with its clients and the sector.

From its basic nature with regard to maritime law, our firm aims to further reinforce the relationship with our international clients (maritime insurers, shipping companies and freight forwarders) on the basis of specialised training. This is one of the areas in which    we are involved as part of our activity, collaborating as regular lecturers in the Master of the Spanish Maritime Institute (Madrid), giving training talks at the University of Cadiz, maintaining collaborations with the universities of Deusto and La Laguna, as well as acting as members of the Court of Arbitration of the Madrid Bar Association. This is a commitment to the new generations, but also to clients, who expect andobtain personalised professional advice.

Likewise, the publication makes special mention of the website on the lifting of the ship arrest that the firm launched in 2021, which can be consulted at: shiparrestrelease.com.

On the other hand, the AIYON team informs that we continue to be clearly committed to handling matters related to land transport, especially in the area of national and international road transport, and the world of insurance and trade, where we have great professionals advising our clients on a daily basis and accompanying them on theirprofessional journey.

Finally, our firm’s clear vocation to deepen its knowledge of Air Law – air chartering, incidents, claims or purchase and sale of aircraft, among others – and Space Law is reflected in the “Postgraduate Specialist Course in Aeronautical and Space Law”, taught by the Faculty of Law (ICADE) in collaboration with the Spanish Association of Aeronauticaland Space Law (AEDAE).

You can read the article at the following link: https://www.diarioelcanal.com/aiyon-abogados-socio-fiable-prioriza-relacion-estrecha-cliente/

Broad representation of AIYON Abogados at the National Congress of the Spanish Association of Maritime Law (AEDM)

Verónica Meana, Zuberoa Elorriaga and José Antonio Dominguez, partners of the offices in Madrid, Bilbao and Algeciras, respectively, took part in the National Congress of the Spanish Association of Maritime Law (AEDM) on November 18thand 19th which was held in Madrid under the title “The Maritime Law of the Recovery. Challenges and Reforms”.

The congress, which provided information of great interest to the participants, began with an In Memoriam tribute to Javier Galiano, Ramón Fernández Guerra and Fernando Meana Green. In memory of the great personal and professional legacy of the latter, Verónica, his daughter and our colleague, made a brief speech.

The congress program was structured into six modules that were addressed with rigour and depth. The latest experiences on the implementation of the Paris Memorandum, with the presentation of the point of view of various sectors (insurance, shipowners, and Directorate-General for Merchant Shipping); the “Next Generation” Funds in the maritime sector, with the analysis of the requirements for their application; liability and insurance in accidents in ports; technological challenges in technical investigation of maritime accidents; and the ongoing reforms of the Law on State Ports and Merchant Marine and the Maritime Navigation Act were discussed.

Relevant and updated information from “TP&I News” on anti-pandemic measures imposed in different ports

The TÜRK PANDI publishes its November “TP&I News”: “Seafarers – The key workers for the global maritime industry, Risk of Detention for Anchoring in Indonesian Waters, Attention: Is your vessel arriving at a Spanish port?, Crew changes in Argentinian ports”, with the collaboration of AIYON Abogados.

Through this publication, the P&I updates the latest news from the maritime sector geared towards shipowners, charterers, as well as any other maritime agent or operator interested or affected by the measures that have been imposed in different ports due to the pandemic.

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Ship arrest

By Irantzu Sedano and Zuberoa Elorriaga

The usual short stay of ships in the ports where they load and unload goods, as well as the international nature of the maritime sector, means that, on many occasions, it is very difficult to recover a debt from shipowners and charterers. It is in this context that the concept of ship arrest emerges.

Ship arrest is a legal tool that enables the creditor of a claim, which must be defined as a “maritime claim” to secure the detention of the ship concerned in order to guarantee its payment. This precautionary, preventive, and urgent legal action can also be regarded as a burdensome measure due to the economic damage it can cause to the operator of the vessel, as it can lead to delays in the vessel’s navigation plans, unforeseen costs due to its stay at berth in port, etc. It can also be a costly measure for the person requesting the arrest if it is wrongly or improperly proposed.

Reasons for the arrest
The arrest of ships pursues different objectives, which vary depending on the asserted maritime claim. That is to say, when the maritime claim consists of a monetary claim, the arrest will operate so that the shipowner/charterer (debtor) provides sufficient security to lift the ship arrest, with the attaching creditor obtaining security. When the maritime claim consists of a claim to the ownership of the vessel, the arrest will ensure the application of an eventual sentence to hand over the vessel.

The detention of the vessel may be replaced by the provision of a guarantee or substitute security by the shipowner/charterer before the court applying the measure, since the ultimate objective of the arrest is to guarantee the effectiveness of a later judgement on the merits of the claim / “maritime claim”, ensuring thus the possibility of its enforcement for the creditor/attaching creditor’s.

In the event that the arrest is requested unjustifiably or improperly, the shipowner/charterer of the vessel is entitled to claim for any damages resulting from the arrest.

Requirements for the ship arrest
The international legal regime in force in Spain is the International Convention on Arrest of Ships (Geneva 1999), which entered into force on 14 September 2011. At the national level, we must resort to the Maritime Navigation Act 14/2014, of 24 July.

The requirements are as follows:

  • The allegation of a “maritime claim”: ships may only be arrested on the basis of maritime claims and not on the basis of any other claim. The list of so-called “maritime claims” is numerus clausus and is set out in Article 1(1) of the 1999 Geneva Convention. The creditor of the precautionary measure, requesting the arrest, shall be exonerated from proving his claim, being sufficient for him to allege its existence and the cause for it.
  • The arrest of the “offending ship”: arrest of the vessel causing the claim is permitted provided that the person who was the owner/bareboat lessor of the ship at the time the claim arose is still the owner/bareboat lessor at the time the arrest is requested. Under certain conditions it also provides for the possibility of arresting other vessels owned by the person liable for payment of the claim (“sister ships”).
  • The existence of periculum in mora: this refers to the risk that the ship, in principle the only property of the debtor known to the creditor, may at any time leave the port leaving the creditor without guarantees.
  • The obligation to deposit a guaranteed by the attaching creditor: its purpose is to ensure that, in the event that the arrest is requested improperly and without complying with the legal requirement, the damages generated to the shipowner/charterer as a result of the incorrect arrest can be economically alleviated.
  • The pendency of the proceedings: the arrest may be requested before, during or after the commencement of the legal proceedings on the merits. The lawsuit will be brought before the court that is to hear the merits of the dispute.

Release of the arrest and the protective measure
In order to confirm ship’s release from the arrest, the arrested party (shipowner) must lodge a replacement security or guarantee before the court covering the amount claimed by its creditor (arresting party), provided that such amount does not exceed the value of the arrested vessel. If it does, the vessel will continue its voyage, leaving deposited this amount as a security for the alleged maritime claim.

Since, as a general rule, the request for arrest is placed as a precautionary measure prior to the filing of the lawsuit, it will remain without effect if the creditor/attaching creditor does not initiate the proceedings on the merits of the dispute before the competent court and within the time limit established by the court executing the precautionary measure. In such a situation, the arresting party shall be ordered to pay damages that will be considered by the court, and the security deposited by the arresting party before the court shall be forfeited.

In summary, Article 1 of the International Convention on the Arrest of Ships lists what are considered “maritime claims” that can justify the arrest of a ship, so there are many agents in the sector that may be protected by this tool to guarantee their claims (seafarers, ship suppliers, shipyards, administration, etc.).

AIYON Abogados handles arrests of ships requested by any kind of creditors, as well as lifting of the arrests of shipowners/charterers affected by this measure; moreover, for all those who want to find out more in detail about this concept we have the following platform: www.shiparrestrelease.com

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Royal Decree 339/2021, of May 18, regulating the safety and pollution prevention equipment on recreational craft

From the relentless technological evolution of the equipment to be installed on recreational craft along with the latest update coming from Europe on recreational craft and marine equipment, derives the new Royal Decree 339/2021 of May 18, regulating the safety equipment and pollution prevention of recreational craft  published today May 19, 2021, and whose entry into force is set for next July 1, 2021.

For the purposes of this RD, recreational craft will be considered all types of vessels which, regardless of their means of propulsion, have a length between 2.5 and 24 meters, have been designed and intended for recreational and sporting purposes, and which do not carry more than 12 passengers.

The main objectives include, on the one hand, the determination of the equipment for the prevention of pollution of the marine environment and the safety equipment for navigation, rescue and fire protection, as well as the distinction of the requirements for such equipment. And, on the other hand, the establishment, in a clear and precise way, of the obligations of the shipowners in relation to them.

Regarding the novelties included in this Royal Decree, developed in six chapters and several final provisions, the extension of its scope of application stands out (art. 2), which will be extended: (i) to recreational vessels that are registered or pre-registered in Spain; (ii) to those that carry out an activity for commercial or lucrative purposes in maritime waters in which Spain exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights or jurisdiction, regardless of their flag State; (iii) and that navigate in Spanish internal maritime waters or the Spanish territorial sea, regardless of their flag State, and that are owned or have their use and enjoyment, natural or legal persons with residence or registered office in Spain.

Therefore, it will apply even to those vessels that, flying a foreign flag, sail through Spanish waters and the owner or the person who is actually using the vessel has a connection with Spain. As can be deduced, the aim is to avoid the escape of recreational vessels to foreign flags with more lax requirements in terms of safety and pollution prevention.

It also highlights the reference to the responsibility of owners and skippers in relation to the maintenance of the boat and safety and prevention equipment, in terms established in this Royal Decree, ensuring in any case that the boat is always in a position, to go to sea without danger to the maximum people authorized on board.

In addition to developing the sections of Rescue Equipment, Navigation Equipment, Fire Safety Equipment and means of rescue and Pollution Prevention, the regulation includes the determination of the penalty system applicable in case of infringement. To this end, it specifies and graduates the infringements already established in the Consolidated Text of the Law of State Ports and Merchant Marine, approved by the Royal Legislative Decree 2/2011, of September 5, which facilitates the determination of the corresponding penalties to be imposed, which will range from 100 € to 3,000 €.

“MV EVER GIVEN”: Insurances and General Average

On 23 March 2021, the vessel “MV EVER GIVEN”, one of the largest container ships in the world with a capacity of 20,000 TEUs, was grounded in the Suez Canal (Egypt). From then on and for the following six days, until the ship could finally be towed, an immense traffic jam was generated in the area, blocking the passage of thousands of goods transported daily by this waterway.

To date, there have been countless delays, because, in addition to those suffered by the cargo carried by the “MV EVER GIVEN”, there have also been delays suffered by all the ships and their cargoes that were trapped on one side of the canal or the other during this time. This has affected a significant number of shipowners and shippers worldwide.

Over time, all the details of this event will become clearer, and responsibilities will be clarified, but what can be said is that the insurance coverages of the affected operators and agents will have to be activated in order to be able to face the many costly claims that will be filed.

In this case, the directly affected insurance policies would be:

– Hull & Machinery Insurance, for damage to the proper vessel and    salvage costs.

– Protection and Indemnity Insurance (P&I), for shipowners and charterers, with civil liability cover.

– Cargo insurance for shippers, for possible damage to cargo.

The “MV EVER GIVEN” has been arrested since 13 April, at the request of the Suez Canal Authority (hereinafter SCA). SCA originally claimed $916 million for the non-payment of the ship’s refloating and maintenance costs but decided to reduce the claim by almost a third part, filing a final claim for $600 million in order to find a quick solution for the matter.

In view of this situation, several relevant questions arise.

 

  • Do shippers have the right to claim against the carrier for the delay?

Spanish law provides some protection in this respect, obliging the shipper to prove that the delay suffered was not “reasonable”. However, after analysing the standard contracts of carriage generally used by maritime carriers, it is very unlikely that the applicable law be Spanish law, as English law usually dominates these agreements.

At the same time, it is important to bear in mind that losses arising from delay are usually excluded from cargo insurance policies for maritime transport, as is the case in the most common clauses, the English clauses (ICCA).

 

  • Why does the ship’s operator, Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine CORP (EMC), not transfer the cargo to other vessels so that it can reach its destination?

The answer to this question is not simple.

Although the operator’s legal representatives are struggling to obtain the necessary permits and transhipments, at present the vessel and the cargo transported are understood to be a single entity and indivisible unit affecting the expenses claimed by SCA. This means that as long as the vessel is detained in Egypt, so are its goods.

Furthermore, to be able to carry out the transhipment, the vessel “MV EVER GIVEN” would have to move from the lake where it is berthed and detained (Great Bitter Lake) to the nearest port.

Finally, it cannot be overlooked that the shipowner has declared the figure of “general average”, so that the cargo transported is affected by the costs of the general average.

 

  • What is “General Average”?

It is understood as any expense or sacrifice reasonably and intentionally incurred by the shipowner, the purpose of which is to preserve the maritime adventure, the voyage and the goods involved in a maritime expedition, avoiding greater damage.

Once the general average is declared, all the interests involved (the ship, the cargo, the freight, etc.) have the legal obligation to contribute proportionally to the payment of those damages or expenses generated to save the voyage and the rest of the cargo. Therefore, this is a figure that is usually present in the ICC coverage agreed by shippers.

Shippers who do not have the goods insured under these clauses will have to provide personally the guarantees required by the shipowner to ensure their subsequent contribution to the general average. As long as such guarantees are not provided, the goods will continue retained by the shipowner.

In summary, in view of the fact that the vessel continues detained while waiting for the evaluation of the possible transhipment of the cargo to other vessels, we recommend that those affected receive specialised and appropriate legal advice to deal with the damages that they may have suffered due to this situation with all the guarantees.

Read the article published…