Home Web information Chinese Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL)

Chinese Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL)


The PIPL defines ‘personal information‘ as “all information relating to identified or identifiable natural persons” but excludes anonymized information (information that cannot be used to identify a specific natural person and cannot be restored after being so anonymized).

Please see below the implications this law may have on shipowners, managers and their correspondents in the PRC. The FAQs are intended to provide guidance and should not be considered as providing definitive legal advice.

1 What are the obligations of ship owners and managers under the PIPL?

Shipowners and managers must ensure that they have obtained adequate consent from seafarers so that they can contact their next of kin, process their data and transfer it to their correspondents and P&I clubs in the event of illness or injury claims. crew occurring in the PRC (regardless of nationality).

Crew contracts may need to be amended to include the appropriate level of consent required.

2 What are the obligations of correspondents under the PIPL?

Correspondents must obtain the consent of seafarers when dealing with claims for illness or injury occurring in the PRC. This consent is necessary to contact relatives, process their data and transfer them to their correspondents and P&I clubs. The key points to note are:

  • In an emergency, PIPL states that such consent must be obtained “as soon as possible”, meaning as soon as possible and under the circumstances.
  • If the seafarer is deceased or cannot give consent, consent should be obtained from the seafarer’s next of kin.
  • Correspondents located in the PRC may need to enter into the relevant data transfer agreement with overseas organizations to which they transfer personal information, e.g. P&I clubs.

3 What are the requirements of the term “consent” in the PIPL?

Adequate consent must confirm the authorization of the shipowner, manager or correspondent concerned to:

  1. Process relevant sensitive personal information, in particular medical information and bank details.
  2. Process relevant types of personal information, including next of kin identification and contact details.
  3. Transfer this information to third parties, including P&I clubs and law firms.
  4. Transfer this information abroad.

Consent must be obtained from the seafarer’s next of kin if the seafarer is deceased or unable to provide it.

4 Where can I get help to ensure I am PIPL compliant?

Chinese law firms can help you draft sample consent wording, crew contract wording, and assess whether PIPL imposes any other obligations on your company.

Please contact your usual Club contact for recommended law firms in the PRC.

International Group of P&I Clubs
October 11, 2022