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Monday, July 21, 2014

Total loss of package lost overboard ..... truck falls into Sea at Chennai

Those in insurance field and those availing insurance coverage would well know that Marine Insurance, the most codified form of Insurance is different from other insurances. Here, there is no printed policy containing terms and conditions but a schedule to which various clauses are attached is in vogue. The changing times and dynamics of market require that the wording defining coverage need to be changed from time to time. Presently, in Indian market, the Institute Cargo Clauses of 1982 are still used, though 2009 version has come into existence. Prior to introduction to such codified clauses, the policies were drafted by the individual underwriters to suit the risks as they perceived them. The policies would be structured to cover hazards to which the cargo would be exposed during a specified voyage.

In 1912 the first Institute Cargo Clauses were developed, (Institute refers to the Institute of London Underwriters) and these were based on clauses in common use at the time. By the 1960s, four sets of basic clauses were in common use, All Risks, W.A. (With average), F.P.A. (Free from particular average) and the Air Cargo Clauses (All Risks). These clauses were still required to be read in conjunction with the SG policy form, to which they were attached. Then came the revision in 1982 which was adopted by the market effective 1983 and the present revision.

Most commercial contracts would specify coverage under Institute Cargo Clauses (A).  Though some countries have their own versions, a very high % of coverage is represented by ICC clauses of UK i.e., made by Institute of London Underwriters.   The primary level coverages ICC (C) and ICC (B) are named peril policies......... The risks covered clause under ICC (B) would read :

1        This insurance covers, except as provided in Clauses 4, 5, 6 and 7 below,
1.2.             loss of or damage to the subject-matter Insured reasonably attributable to
1.2.1. fire or explosion
1.2.2. vessel or craft being stranded grounded sunk or capsized
1.2.3. overturning or derailment of land conveyance
1.2.4. collision or contact of vessel craft or conveyance with any external object other than water
1.2.5. discharge of cargo at a port of distress
1.2.6. earthquake, volcanic eruption or lightining.
1.3.             loss of or damage to the subject-matter insured caused by
1.3.1. general average sacrifice
1.3.2. jettison or washing overboard
1.3.3. entry of sea, lake or river water into vessel craft hold conveyance container liftvan or place of storage.

1.3.4. total loss of any package lost overboard or dropped whilst loading on to, or unloading from, vessel craft.

~ - ~ the last one makes an interesting read : ‘total loss of any package lost overboard......’.....

Marine Policies cover goods in transit – from the time the goods leave the warehouse or place of storage, continues during the ordinary course of transit and terminates upon delivery to consignee (there are further restrictions and coverage of course is subject to the sale contract enunciating the insurable interest) ......... in some ports loading onto Overseas vessel (and unloading from the vessel) is done mid-stream by lighters and here due to rough conditions, packages / bags could fall into sea. Even in advanced Ports, packages falling into sea whilst loaded in slings is not totally uncommon – one will be surprised to read that every year hundreds of containers fall into sea – and are lost – mostly are not retrieved.   ICC (B) would offer protection when cargo is thus lost (the package in its entirety) ..... here is something unusual of a truck itself falling into sea .. at Chennai ... as reported in Times of India.

In an unusual incident, a tipper lorry backing up to get into a queue of vehicles waiting to take on coal from a ship at Chennai Port fell into the sea just after midnight. The accident occurred at the Jawahar Dock point around 12.15am. The tipper lorry driver, Arul Raj, is thought to have fallen asleep at the wheel. Arul Raj, a 27-year-old contract worker, who also fell into the sea with the vehicle, however, managed to escape by opening the window of his cabin and swimming out. The other lorry drivers and cleaners then helped him climb to safety. The lorry was later pulled out with the help of a crane.  Witnesses later told police that Arul Raj had parked the lorry near the northern side of Jawahar Dock where a coal-laden ship was stationed.

As a number of vehicles were waiting in a line to load the coal, Arul Raj tried to enter the queue by reversing the vehicle. Seeing him go close to the water, some of those in the line tried to warn him but Arul Raj apparently ignored their caution and continued reversing and fell in.  Soon, a lot of truck drivers and cleaners gathered at the spot where he fell in. By then, the driver had broken the window of his cabin and jumped out into the water. After he was pulled out, an ambulance of the 108 service was called. Arul Raj, who suffered injuries to the hands, was sent to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital from where he is expected to be discharged a day later. Arul Raj, a driver for a transport agency in Chennai, was assigned to take on the load of coal at the port and deliver it at a private company near Coimbatore. As no complaint was lodged, the Harbour police said they didn't register any case.  After the lorry was lifted out, the transport agency which owns it was informed.

A month earlier another driver at Malaysia was not so lucky.  In an accident at the Lekir Bulk Terminal in Lumut Port, the car plunged into the sea, the driver who was trapped inside was killed.  The car was later fished out of sea and authorities are quoted as stating that they had to rely on sonar devices to detect the vehicle as it was dark.  Once detected, scuba divers were pressed into service and the slightly crushed car was lifted up using a crane of the jetty.  (news and photo credit :

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

21st July 2014.


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