A crisis can occur anytime. The shipowner will always be in the immediate line of fire and will retain ownership over any crisis that affects or is caused by the vessel.
Gard’s crisis management plan will swing into action on receipt of first information with prudent overreaction – it is always better to secure and mobilise resources at an early stage and stand them down as the situation improves than it is to scramble for resources at a later stage. Once the decision to mobilise is taken, the team consisting of five to six senior claims staff swing into action within 30 minutes. Gard’s global presence with 13 offices and more than 200 claims handlers means that in addition to the central crisis team, local expertise is always available across many time zones. The crisis team, including the majority of our offices, runs through at least one major exercise a year.
The central contingency room is equipped with multiple monitors, telephone extensions and video-capability. A specially designed electronic crisis log is utilised to record and manage the influx of information that arises in connection with a major casualty and is accessible remotely. A separate media room is available for dealing with any press enquires and monitoring the world media and Gard is able to host press conferences if necessary. The central contingency room is tested monthly for functionality.
Gard’s crisis team makes qualified decisions at an early stage getting the member or client back on track with the minimum of disruption to his operations. Gard relies on its extensive collective experience guided by the people – environment – property hierarchy and specialists with a multitude of backgrounds within shipping, ship management, law, engineering, science and the military are available to advise the crisis team and the shipowner as required.
The full resources of the Gard Group were behind us in providing support for the crew and assessing all potential maritime risks. Empirical studies suggest that effective management of a crisis is just as important as insurance being in place when determining the long-term effects of the crisis on a company.
Paradoxically, a well-managed crisis can actually generate shareholder value in time regardless of significant losses or liabilities.