Whereas most of the P&I clubs are based in Europe, their members originate from different geographical locations and may find themselves in trouble in any corner of the world where there is a port. Problems can and do happen. Hence, the clubs heavily rely on an extensive network of correspondents based in several hundreds of ports in more than 130 countries around the globe to give practical and immediate advice to the members.
The P&I correspondents, also known as P&I representatives, would be local lawyers or commercial representatives, or both, and, in some cases, surveyors, appointed by the clubs to serve in a given region in order to render local assistance and guidance to the masters, shipowners and charterers as well as to provide claims handling services. The contact details of the correspondents appear in lists published in clubs’ books and websites and they can be contacted round the clock whenever there is an incident or claim that may affect or may threaten to affect, the clubs’ members. If their intervention is sought by sources such as the masters, local agents, shipowners or charterers, etc, the club concerned must be notified at the very first opportunity.
Whilst the correspondents are not a branch of the clubs nor their agents or legal representatives, in the sense that they cannot accept legal proceedings on clubs or members’ behalf, they literally function as the club’s eyes and ears in the area of coverage, relaying information on regional developments and practices that might concern members’ activities in their area.
The correspondents also play a significant role in the club’s loss prevention and marketing initiatives in the region they serve.