In an event of a collision, the company’s liabilities and risks are covered by the ocean marine insurance policy purchased by the company. The marine insurance policy provides protection against losses for ships. Such policies also cover the shipping industry in the event of damage to ship’s hull and/or ship’s freight.
A part of Marine insurance policy comes with ‘both to blame’ clause. The ‘both to blame’ clause is acted upon when a ship collides with another ship due to the negligence of both parties. In such an instance owners and shippers of both vessels must share in the losses. The loss shared is in accordance with the monetary values of their damaged cargo and interest.
Following are the parties required to pay for losses:
- Owners of the cargo
- Company responsible for shipment
The purpose of ‘both to blame’ clause in a marine insurance policy is:
- Restore the position of the shipowner/carrier who was traditionally not liable to compensate the owner of the cargo on the ship for errors in navigation or management of the vessel.
Damage caused due to negligence can be because of the following parties:
- Servants of the carrier in the navigation
In spite of modern technology, shipping accidents still occur at sea. When such accidents happen, both ship captains can be at fault. Due to the negligence of both the captains or any other responsible person, the ships crash into each other. So, in simple words, both parties become responsible for causing the accident as directed by ‘both to blame’ clause in the marine insurance policy.
Thus, the advantage of both to blame clause comes when both parties have ocean marine insurance policies with both-to-blame clauses. In such a scenario, each party can burden the other with a portion of the losses from the accident.
Established in 2001, A.J Construction company in Mumbai had made a big name for itself in the industry in a short span of time. The company got a contract for constructing roadways in Malaysia. The company decided to send a consignment of equipments and machinery to Malaysia via water.
Transportation by water-ways had its own risks and hence A.J Constructions decided to purchase a marine insurance policy to avert any risks or losses which prevailed in water transport. All the construction material was properly inspected before the journey.
During the journey, the ship carrying the construction material of A.J Constructions came close to another ship which was loaded with its own cargo. The captain of both the ships left the helm of the ship unattended and the ships crashed into each other.
But luckily the owners of both the cargo’s had marine insurance policy with ‘both to blame’ clause.
Here the total loss was Rs 20 lakhs. Both the insurers carefully reviewed the claim form along with the other policy documents and agreed to divide the claim amount equally based on ‘both o blame clause’ in their marine insurance policy. The total claim of Rs 20 lakhs was divided between both the insurers as 10 lakhs each.
Read More: How does Warranty Work in Marine Insurance?
Consider the same ship carrying the cargo of construction material of A.J Constructions to Malaysia. But now there was no collision between any ships. Upon the delivery of the cargo in Malaysia, it was found to be damaged. In such a situation, it will be important to ascertain whether the damage comes under Marine insurance policy or construction all risk policy.
Even after the investigation, the damage is found to be taken place during the transportation by water-ways, the ‘both to blame’ clause will not be applied here as there was no collision between two ships.
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