ENGLAND’s High Court has ruled that insurers must pay US$76.3 million to cover the constructive total loss of the 150,000-dwt tanker Brillante Virtuoso, which was taken and damaged by pirates off Aden in 2011.
The court also ruled that claimants are entitled to reimbursement of the costs of salvage and other labour, reports New York’s Maritime Advocate.
At issue was what constituted a "constructive total loss" as the insurers argued that that claimants claim did not meet the standard. In responding the court laid down the principles to be applied to the determination of whether a vessel is a constructive total loss caused by damage.
The Suezmax Brillante Virtuoso was taken by pirates, who ordered the vessel to proceed to Somalia, but after the main engine stopped and could not be restarted, the pirates detonated an incendiary device in the vessel’s engine room.
The explosion caused a fire which substantially damaged the vessel’s engine room, funnel casing and accommodation block. Pirate aborted their mission and fled.
The court held that if the vessel had been a partial loss, the claimants would have been entitled not only to an indemnity for a partial loss and labour expenses, but also to an indemnity against loss of hire.