Eversheds acts for five parties after shipping disaster leaves six crew members in prison

Eversheds is leading negotiations between the EU and Pakistan over a major human rights dispute linked to one of the world’s largest existing insurance claims.

The dispute, centring on the recent loss of an oil tanker, the Tasman Spirit, off the port of Karachi in Pakistan, and allegedly billions of dollars of pollution damage, also sees Eversheds shipping partner Eamon Moloney acting for five parties.

The EU Council of Ministers has just stepped into the fray because of the continued incarceration by Pakistani authorities of six crew members of the Tasman Spirit.

To aid their release, Moloney has been briefing EU foreign affairs commissioner Chris Patten during his recent talks with Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf. Moloney is also in talks with various embassies in Pakistan that are also seeking to resolve the stand-off.

Moloney is handling $7.7bn (£4.15bn) of claims brought by the Pakistan authorities and private interests against Moloney’s client, the owner of the Tasman Spirit, Maltese shipping company Assi-mina Maritime. These claims relate to alleged pollution damage. Assimina is insured by Moloney’s other client, US P&I club the American Club.

Moloney expects the claims to grow to $12bn (£6.47bn), which would be one of the largest existing insurance claims in the world.

On acting for multiple parties, Moloney said: “If a conflict arose [for example, if the insurer refused to pay Assimina’s liabilities] then of course we’d consider our position.” Legal experts said it was usual for one firm to act for several parties in a ship disaster.

Moloney is also acting for the Greek managers of the Tasman Spirit, Polembros, Italian-based hull and machinery underwriters and the arrested crew members.