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Monday, November 10, 2014

legality of voyage in Marine and Yacht carrying material worth 390 crores

Martinique belongs to the Windward Islands, the southern group of the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies. Colonized by France in 1635, the island has subsequently remained a French possession except for three brief periods of foreign occupation.  Read about this island recently …  and the value is Rs.390 crores.

Goods in transit from one to place to another are the subject matter of insurance in Marine cargo insurance. Going by the definitions, -  "insurable property" means any ship, goods or other movables which are exposed to maritime perils; and  "marine adventure"  is any adventure where any insurable property is exposed to maritime perils;…. Then there is Sec. 41 of Marine Insurance Act as well.

Daily Mail and other Press reports of yacht ‘SY Hygeia’ of Halsa chased and boarded as it began its transatlantic crossing – and the cargo of 250 kg smelled trouble.  There are many cargo carriers and ‘Yachts’ do not generally cargo – this vessel SY Hygeia  was carrying cargo worth £40million headed for the UK.   The vessel was boarded by French customs after a dramatic chase off the Caribbean island of Martinique and two men from Jersey  were arrested after officers discovered around 250kg of the Class A drug.

It followed an investigation involving the Metropolitan Police, their French counterparts and officials from the National Crime Agency (NCA). The Yacht was intercepted as it began a transatlantic crossing and  the 250 kg was ‘cocaine’. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. It produces short-term euphoria, energy, and talkativeness in addition to potentially dangerous physical effects like raising heart rate and blood pressure.  The powdered form of cocaine is either inhaled through the nose where it is absorbed through the nasal tissue, or dissolved in water and injected into the bloodstream.

Two men from Jersey, aged 57 and 42, were arrested and could face prosecution by the French authorities.   Reports suggest that they had been following a London-based organised crime group, with connections to the Caribbean, suspected of being involved in the large-scale importation of class A drugs.  Hank Cole, the NCA's head of international operations, said: 'Together we have stopped a huge consignment of cocaine close to source. 'We have no doubt that without this intervention the drugs would have ended up on the streets of the UK where, after being cut, they would have had a likely potential value of between £30-40 million.

Away there are reports that outfit from the war-torn African nation, a violent mob - armed with bayonets,  peddle misery to hopeless addicts desperate for a fix. The immigrant thugs arrived in Scotland via London around two years ago and are feared to have  quickly built their £1million-a-year drug empire. They avoid being detected by police by frequently changing hire cars and buying bangers at motor auctions.

Though there was a ‘marine adventure, valuable cargo, exposed to marine perils’ – it was not a legal one.  Sec 41. Of the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (Sec 43 of Indian MI Act 1963) states that : ‘ There is an implied warranty that the adventure insured is a lawful one, and that, so far as the assured can control the matter, the adventure shall be carried out in a lawful manner’. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th Nov. 2014.


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