Law shift shakes voyage cover

A recent Federal Court decision has opened up a potential gap in insurance cover for staff on seafaring vessels.

Subsequent to the findings of the Samson Maritime Pty Ltd v Aucote case last year, the operation of the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 has been expanded to cover all employees on all registered ships if they are owned by an Australian trading corporation, an Australian financial corporation, or a foreign corporation, no matter where they are trading in Australia or what the business of the ship may be.

Russell Kennedy Lawyers Special Counsel Andrew Klein says the change means insurance gaps may have arisen.

“Additional insurance cover for some maritime employees previously thought to be covered under state legislation will therefore likely be needed,” he says.

“These employees will, by the same token, no longer be covered under the state legislation and policies arising from those laws.”

Vessel owners and operators will need to review their obligations in regard to compensation for employee injuries sustained during employment on seafaring vessels.

Those operating or in possession of vessels engaged in intrastate voyages are encouraged to contact Seacare to check if their vessel is included under new laws.