36. Contingent liabilities

The Group has issued counter indemnities to Allied Irish Banks plc in relation to bonds required by regulatory authorities and suppliers, amounting to €0.6 million (2019: €0.6 million). The Group regards these financial guarantee contracts as insurance contracts and accordingly the accounting treatment applied is that applicable to insurance contracts. No claims have been notified to the Group in respect of these contracts, therefore no provision is warranted.

The Group is a participating employer in the Merchant Navy Officer Pension Fund (MNOPF), a multi-employer defined benefit pension scheme. The MNOPF is closed to future accrual. Under the rules of the fund all employers are jointly and severally liable for any past service deficit of the fund. The last notification from the trustees showed that the Group’s share of any deficit would be 1.53%. Should other participating employers’ default on their obligations, the Group will be required to absorb a larger share of the scheme deficit. If the Group were to terminate their obligations to the fund, voluntarily or otherwise, the Group may incur a statutory debt under Section 75 of the United Kingdom Pensions Act 1995 amended by the Pensions Act 2004. The calculation of such statutory debt is prescribed in legislation and is on a different basis from the current deficit calculations. This would likely be a greater amount than the net position included in these Financial Statements and the Directors consider that this amount is not quantifiable unless and until such an event occurs.

In the ordinary course of business, the Group is exposed to legal proceedings from various sources including employees, customers, suppliers and regulatory authorities. It is the opinion of the Directors that losses, if any, arising in connection with these matters will not be materially in excess of provisions made in the Financial Statements.