American Club Triples Tonnage In Five Years

By tripling the ship tonnage it provides with mutual protection and indemnity insurance over the past five years, The American Club has served up a "jolting reminder to all that American enterprise can successfully compete in the international market place." The statement was made by Robert J. Blackwell, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Maritime Affairs, before 55 persons attending the 60th Anniversary luncheon of the American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association at the Whitehall Club, New York City on September 8.

Appearing as guest speaker, Mr. Blackwell said: "We at Mar- Ad are pleased that you are continuing to provide American shipowners with a strong, progressive and competitive alternative in the international P&I market." The Commerce Department official said: "This most certainly will benefit members of the Club and other shipowners, as well by helping to maintain a balance in P&I rates." Mr. Blackwell observed that the Club had come from behind in achieving its success. He recalls that shortly after joining the Maritime Administration in 1970, he was advised by that agency's marine insurance staff that "all was not well" for U.S.-based P&I agencies.

Most, including The American Club, had lost substantial tonnage to increased competition by British clubs, and some U.S. P&I underwriters went out of business (The American Club is the only mutual P&I club in the United States).

Mr. Blackwell then pointed out that The American Club bounced back from a tonnage of one and a half million tons in 1970 to achieve its present tonnage of over 5,000,000 tons this year.

Guest speaker Rear Adm. William M. Benkert, Chief of Maritime Safety, United States Coast Guard, told those present that The American Club's increased emphasis on loss prevention paralleled the Coast Guard's increasing emphasis on preventing ship accidents at sea and in the nation's ports.

Other honored guests attending the anniversary luncheon were Kesley H. Green, Director, Office of Marine Insurance, Maritime Administration; Capt. George N.

Wood, United States Coast Guard; Robert T. Young, president, American Bureau of Shipping; Francis T. Donohue, chief, Property Bureau, New York Insurance Department, and George Fosket, assistant chief, Property Bureau, New York Insurance Department.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 39,  Oct 15, 1977

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