Below is one of the many charming bye laws from the Black Book of the Admiralty, a compilation of English admiralty law which has had several authors over the generations, written and translated from a mixture of old French and Latin, and originally known as Monumenta Juridica.
“Maryners bynd with theyr mayster, and any that goo out withoutte leave of the mayster, and drynke dronken, and make noyse and stryfe so that any of them be hurte, the mayster is not bounde to cause them to be healed nor to purvey ought for them, but he may well put them out of the shyppe and hire others in their place.
But yf the mayster shulde sende them in any errande for the prouffyte of the shyppe, and that they shulde hurte theym self, they ought to be healed at the costes of the shyppe. This is the judgement.”
Black Book of the Admiralty Circa 1400s
The rules and regulations it outlined were liberally adapted from the Rules of Oléron, which date back to around 1160 and were the first formal statement of 'maritime' or 'admiralty' laws in northwestern Europe. The Rules of Oléron were introduced into law in England in 1190.
They were written in French by Eleanor of Aquitaine, at various times both Queen of France and England, mother to eight children, three of whom became monarchs, and one of the most powerful women of all time. She began her work in between crusades.
So, it’s largely thanks to good old Queen Eleanor that there is an obligation to 'heal'. In other words, as outlined above in medieval English, when the 'cure' was no doubt worse than the disease, the judgement still holds true to this day. All ship owners must provide medical care, free of charge, to any seaman injured in the service of the ship, until such time as the seaman has reached "maximum medical cure".
The obligation to 'cure' a seaman includes the obligation to provide him with medications and medical devices which improve his ability to function, even if they do not actually 'improve' his condition.
Rewriting the Rulebooks for Maritime Medical Cover
Fast forward some 910 years and we like to think Eleanor would have slotted in comfortably at Moore Stephens Crew Benefits (MSCB). Like her, we have a pioneering spirit when it comes to providing the right kind of life and medical cover for super yacht crew. And comprehensive cover can work out much cheaper than you might think.
Moore Stephens' Superyacht Crew Plan is one of the most far reaching policies in the business, carefully tailored by our team through our connections with the London insurance market. Whenever we think a policy could be improved we go and talk to them directly.
In this way, we have convinced our colleagues in the London insurance market that our clientele is for the most part, young, fit and healthy, and research shows uptake of compensation by superyacht crew is considerably less than that of the general public. For this reason, our reasonably priced coverage can extend to modern-day activities such as hazardous sports, including jet skiing, scuba diving and iron man events.
It also includes pregnancy, because roughly 50% of superyacht crew are female, so it’s always best to be prepared for that hopefully happy eventuality. It’s just one example of how we don’t simply take what the insurance company decides to give us; like Queen Eleanor, we rewrite the rulebook to offer safer, fairer, more far reaching coverage for all.
To find out more, please contact Moore Stephens Crew Benefits to see how we can assist with your medical insurance needs.
About the Author:
Simon Dixon is Partner Relationships Manager with Moore Stephens Brokers Limited. Moore Stephens Brokers Limited www.msbl.im is a registered insurance broker intermediating in hull insurance, P&I insurance and all related marine and yacht insurances including crew medical, accident, sickness and life insurance. MSBL is associated with MSCB www.mscb.im which signposts to banking services, foreign exchange and international mortgages, specifically designed for superyachts and the unique lifestyles of yacht crew.