THE Liberian Shipowners' Council (LSC) has published a handbook - Crisis Communications - to provide its members with practical advice on how to deal with the media after a high-profile marine casualty. The handbook's central message is that owners and operators should prepare a crisis communications plan ahead of a casualty to enable them to provide clear and forthright answers to journalists' questions. The project was developed by the LSC because its directors believed it was necessary to project a more positive image of the international shipping industry. 'It is, perhaps, a regrettable fact that in today's litigious society, it is of almost equal importance for an owner to be able to deal with the media following a casualty, as it is to be prepared on operational and technical fronts,' said Jeremy Smith, LSC general secretary. 'We know Liberian flag owners are responsible and committed to compliance with international standards. This booklet should help owners in their dealings with the press and is another example of the service offered to members by our association.' The handbook provides senior shipping executives with guidelines, rather than a detailed script, and is only part of a comprehensive casualty management plan which would include international mandates, such as the oil pollution response plan required under MARPOL and the US Oil Pollution Act (OPA). The handbook was prepared for LSC by Crisis Consultants Inc whose president, Jesse Lewis, has been active in helping owners in their dealings with the press. notably in the Braer case in January 1993.