Insurers bailing out on stranded ship

2012-05-11 11:29

Cape Town - The insurers of a cargo ship stranded in False Bay, Cape Town, intend to pull their cover for wreck removal and oil pollution at the end of May, it was reported on Friday.

The Cape Times reported that without the insurer Swedish Club's protection and indemnity cover, it was unclear who would foot the bill if something happened to the ship, Panos Earth.

The SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) gave the ship permission to dock in the environmentally-sensitive bay after she experienced engine failure while sailing from Venezuela to China with a cargo of iron ore.

The permission was given on condition the ship was insured and that a Smit Amandla tug was on standby.

Samsa regional manager Dave Colly told the newspaper: "We've been caught out. They [insurers] came to us saying: 'Please can the ship come in to be repaired'. The owner never approached us. Now their risk has been taken care of. Now they're going to be on Samsa's blacklist."

The insurance company's John Owen said underwriters were not in a position to fund commercial operations, and many of the owner's problems were of a "commercial nature".

  • tonyzr2tx - 2012-05-11 11:40

    You cannot dock in a bay, you anchor. This has not been corrected since yesterdays report?

      Al - 2012-05-11 13:06

      Sitting in the dock of the bay, wasting time...

      fishycraig - 2012-05-15 16:06

      Good one AI.

  • ewanvb - 2012-05-11 11:47

    The mere fact that the insurer is willing to accept monthly installments from the ship owner, they accept that there is a contract between them and the company. In the event that they want to withdraw their insurance cover, they should repay all the premiums back that they so eagerly took from the insured. It does however not surprise me that the insurance company want to back out of the contact that they have with the insured. They know if anything would happen with the ship while anchored, their bottom-line would be affected and that they can not have. Insurance companies are worse than used cars sales companies.

  • Kala - 2012-05-11 12:37

    Tow the ship to Cape Town and sell it as scrap.

      fishycraig - 2012-05-15 16:07

      Or fix it up and add it to the Japanese trawler as our budding merchant fleet.

  • Anthony - 2012-05-11 12:42

    its time our new frigates got some target practice. sink the thing!!!

      En - 2012-05-11 12:52

      I think about 3/4 years ago the Navy sunk an old destroyer during an exercise. Was apparently a sight to behold.

      roberta.keeling - 2012-05-11 13:27

      Good idea - it looks like a rust bucket anyway!

      Matthew - 2012-05-11 15:29

      Take all the enviromentally harmful stuff out 1st, of that old rust bucket THEN give some target practice to our navy boys in Simons Town!!! wonder if they will re-emburse the premiums that have been paid until now. this insurance company just sounds like a scallywag!

  • Pete - 2012-05-11 17:14

    She should never have been allowed to ANCHOR in False Bay (quite right, Tonyzr... signs of cub-reporting and bad subbing). In my day only in the MOST EXTREME cases was permission granted to enter False Bay for repairs. Seems like standards have changed....

  • Pete - 2012-05-11 17:29

    What has not been said, but which people must be asking, is why she's in False Bay and not Cape Town in the first place. Reason is she's loaded with iron ore and, if fully laden, will draw 13,7m of water. My info is that Table Bay Harbour's deepest berths (in the container terminal) have a depth alongside of only 13,9m. Firstly, 200mm of water under a ship is not a safe margin in shipping terms and secondly it would mean occupying a container terminal berth, which should be handling container ships. So, why not simply lighten the ship by throwing her cargo overboard? Can't easily be done because she has no cargo handling gear. So, folks, we have a problem, and probably the best solution is to tow her out to sea from False Bay and pull the cork out of her bottom. Or let the Navy do some target practice (which, for anybody who has watched the SA Navy try to sink ships is good for a couple of giggles...)

      fishycraig - 2012-05-15 16:09

      "Good for a few giggles". Does that mean they will hit it or miss it? I fear the latter...

  • Phil - 2012-05-11 21:57

    Off topic but I just want to say: SAMSA is a bunch of bureaucratic idiots who doesn't know the difference between leisure and commercial regulation. Every country in the world knows the distinction..but guess what..somehow these idiots play dumb so they can make a few hundred bucks by terrorizing leisure boaters with Nazi regulation.

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