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Enhanced war risks coverage for Singapore maritime sector

SINGAPORE'S maritime community can enjoy enhanced coverage for war risks under new insurance conditions launched on Tuesday night at the Singapore Shipping Association's (SSA) annual Chinese New Year cocktail reception.

The new Singapore War Risks Insurance Conditions (SRWIC) are an enhancement to the existing Singapore War Risks Mutual (SWRM) insurance facility, launched in 2015 and covering almost 800 ships to date. Coverage under the SWRM rules is available to SSA members irrespective of where their ships are registered, and non-members whose ships are registered in Singapore.

The new SWRIC was developed from the perspective of shipowners, aiming to address gaps seen by industry players. It offers shipowners more breadth and certainty in terms of coverage, and its wording is simplified to be user- and reader-friendly, said Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min at Tuesday's launch.

The SWRIC presents a local equivalent to the war insurance cover provided by internationally-used marine insurance plans such as the Nordic Plan and the United Kingdom's Institute Time Clauses. "Local expertise will be developed to ensure that the conditions are updated and remain relevant to the industry," said the SSA and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in a joint release on Tuesday.

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Tuesday's event also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop an inter-operability framework for electronic trade documents. The maritime sector has been moving towards the digitalisation of documentation such as Bills of Lading. To ensure that electronic documents can travel smoothly across different digital systems, the aim under the MOU is to develop a set of governance and legal frameworks, technical standards and inter-operable digital enablers.

It was signed by the SSA, MPA, Singapore Customs and the Info-communications Media Development Authority, and marks a step up from an earlier MOU between MPA, SSA and Singapore Customs in January 2018 to look into the digitalisation of trade and maritime documentation.