Three experienced shipping lawyers have moved to the 45 million GT North of England P&I club
, further confirming its status as one of the major players in the international maritime insurance industry. They include two partners from leading London maritime firms and a US shipping attorney from New York.
Former Lawrence Graham partner
Charles Baker (54) has joined the club's freight, demurrage and defence department as a solicitor. Baker is an experienced shipping litigator who has been a partner with a number of leading London shipping practices over the past 25 years, including Holman, Fenwick and Willan and Herbert Smith.
Frank Sanford (48), formerly a partner with Richards Butler, has joined as a senior claims executive focusing primarily on cargo claims. Prior to qualifying as a solicitor in 1992, Sanford gained his master's certificate during 11 years at sea on a variety of vessels for London & Overseas Freight
Antigone Yanniotis (29) has also joined the freight, demurrage and defence department. Yanniotis is a Greek-speaking, American shipping attorney who previously worked with New York law firm Lyons Skoufalos. She will transfer to the club's Piraeus office next year after a familiarisation period at the Newcastle head office.
The recent appointments consolidate the club's considerable in-house legal expertise. The 17-strong freight demurrage and defence department headed by Stephen Purvis is widely recognised as one of the largest multi-jurisdictional teams of shipping lawyers outside London and there are six other qualified lawyers on the club's 143-strong staff.
According to Purvis: 'These senior-level appointments are clear evidence that the North of England is now recognised by maritime professionals worldwide as a major player in the marine insurance industry
. They reflect our continuing growth as a club as well as our belief that providing members with direct access to high quality, in-house legal advice is one of the most cost-effective methods of loss prevention.' Two thirds of the club's 45 million GT entered P&I tonnage is also entered for freight, demurrage and defence cover.
The North of England now insures a fleet 2600 ships entered by 400 members from throughout the world. It remains the only P&I club - and one of few European insurers - to have been given a 'positive outlook' in 2003 from leading rating agency Standard and Poor's.