Japan – Route Planning and The Effects of The Nuclear Incidents on The P&I Cover

As at 17 March 2011, a 20 kilometer zone around the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant was evacuated and a 30 kilometer exclusion zone was established around the nuclear facility. No ban was imposed by the authorities in relation to ship transits or port calls aside from the exclusion zone around the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. However, on the same day the U.S. Coast Guard recommended, as a precaution, that vessels avoid transiting within 50 miles (43 nautical miles /80 kilometers) from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Mariners were advised that that recommendation should be considered a minimum distance. Prudent route planning should incorporate prevailing and changing wind and weather conditions, in addition to the other precautionary measures.

Understandably, the situation in Japan is subject to change every hour, and it is impossible to foresee how far the affected zone will ultimately grow. Whilst the Association is not in a position to give specific advice upon the safety or otherwise of particular shipping route, we recommend to Members, who have vessels that are expected to transit the region, in all cases to carry out factual investigation as regards developments in relation to the damaged nuclear installation.

In addition to information, published by the media, the following websites may be of assistance in providing further information relevant to shipping operations:
The International Atomic Energy Agency
Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of Japan
Government of Japan Incident Website
Japan Meteorological Agency
Japan Coast Guard Navigation Warnings

Technical guidance in respect of exposure to radiation may be found at the following websites:
IAEA Safety Series No. 115, International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources
International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and
Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Tourism (MLIT)

The risk of earthquakes, tsunamis or nuclear radiation per se will not lead to termination or cessation of the P&I insurance. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the cover provided by the Association is subject to an exclusion for nuclear risks. P&I cover is not available under Rule 4.1.5 in respect of liabilities, losses, costs or expenses directly or indirectly caused by or contributed to by or arising from nuclear risks such as may arise from the incidents at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

All standard hull and machinery terms also include the so-called RACE II clause (Radioactive Contamination Exclusion clause) which excludes nuclear risks and which is imposed by reinsurers of marine risks. Members may wish to discuss exposure to radiation of the vessel’s hull with their hull insurers.

While the above information is believed correct, the Association cannot assume responsibility for completeness or accuracy.