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The "Creola" - Malicious acts, Piracy and Perils of the Seas examined

The "Creola" - Malicious acts, Piracy and Perils of the Seas examined

03.06.2019

Carrie Radford

Carrie Radford Partner

A yacht owner has recovered from her insurer for loss and damage flowing from the grounding and subsequent looting of her yacht in a recent decision of the London Circuit Commercial Court (Linda McKeever v Northernreef Insurance Co S.A.).

A yacht owner has recovered from her insurer for loss and damage flowing from the grounding and subsequent looting of her yacht in a recent decision of the London Circuit Commercial Court (Linda McKeever v Northernreef Insurance Co S.A.).  

In a judgment that explores the implications of the 2018 Supreme Court decision in the B Atlantic, Deputy Judge Julia Dias QC held that in deliberately smashing the windows of the yacht so as to gain entry for the purposes of looting, the thieves were not acting with the requisite spite and ill-will for the malicious acts peril to be made out. However, the judge confessed to having “some reluctance” in reaching this conclusion.

The judge found that the Claimant was entitled to indemnity for damage caused by water ingress following the forced entry, based on the perils of the seas named peril, applying the decision of Popplewell J in the DC Merwestone, because the water ingress was fortuitous from the perspective of the Assured.

‘Piracy’ was held not to provide coverage because the classic English law definition of “forcible robbery at sea” was not met, even though in this case the thieves were engaged in indiscriminate plunder, with force, for personal benefit and their acts were conducted at sea. The judge commented that all of the piracy authorities concerned acts perpetrated against manned vessels and therefore “the strong implication” was that the threat or use of force against persons, not just property, was a necessary feature.

Read the full article here.

This article was co-authored by Keith Rowbory, trainee solicitor at Ince

Article authors:

Carrie Radford

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