Gard Club takes legal action against the 1971 Fund
The 1971 Fund Administrative Council discussing developments in the Nissos Amorgos case in October 2013
The Gard Club has lodged actions against the 1971 Fund in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and in the United Kingdom, claiming that the 1971 Fund should be liable to pay any amounts that the Gard Club is obliged to pay in excess of the shipowner’s limitation amount under the 1969 Civil Liability Convention. The action in London also seeks to freeze the remaining assets of the 1971 Fund in order to prevent any reimbursement to contributors to the Fund.
The actions have been taken following the May 2013 judgement by the Supreme Court (Criminal section) in Maracaibo, Republic of Venezuela, denying the shipowner the right to limit his liability, and in response to decisions taken by the 1971 Fund Administrative Council at its October 2013 session. At that session the Administrative Council, whilst expressing sympathy for the shipowner and the P&I Club (the Gard Club) in this case, decided that the 1971 Fund should not reimburse the Club for any payments made as a consequence of the Supreme Court judgement in respect of the claim by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela since it had no legal obligation to do so.
At the same session, the 1971 Fund Administrative Council decided that the 1971 Fund should be wound up as soon as possible and took a number of decisions in respect of a timetable for the winding up and the legal and procedural arrangements that would have to be put in place.
The International Group of P&I Associations made a statement at the October 2013 session, objecting to the 1971 Fund Administrative Council’s decisions in relation to the Nissos Amorgos incident and the winding up of the 1971 Fund.
The Director regrets the difficult positions which both the 1971 Fund and the Gard Club find themselves in and hopes that a mutually agreeable resolution can be found soon. Both the Nissos Amorgos incident and the winding up of the 1971 Fund will be the subject of discussions at the upcoming meeting of the 1971 Fund Administrative Council from 6-9 May 2014 at the IMO Headquarters in London. Documents setting out the latest developments in detail for consideration by the Administrative Council will be made available via the document services section of the website in due course.