When copper turns out to be slag. No physical loss of cargo, no claim under all risks open policy.

 

In   Engelhart CTP (US) LLC v Lloyd’s Syndicate for the 2014 year of account [2018] EWHC 900 (Comm) the cif buyer claimed under an all risks open policy when containers were found not to contain the copper ingots it had traded, only slag of nominal value. It was assumed that no copper was ever shipped and that the claimant in good faith has paid for and taken up fraudulent bills of lading and other shipping documents.  Sir Ross Cranston held that the purpose of all risks marine cargo insurance, was to cover loss of or damage to property. In this case, there was no physical loss of or damage to property as  there never was any cargo of copper ingots, and, consequently, no cargo to be physically lost or damaged. Something must exist to be physically lost.

The scope of the policy was extended by additional clauses but these were all suggestive of physical loss. The first was a Container clause which provided that the policy “is also to pay for shortage of contents…notwithstanding that seals may appear intact”.  The word “shortage” in the clause bore its ordinary meaning and could not cover a situation where there were no goods in the first place.  The second was a Fraudulent Documents clause which was expressly provided to cover a physical loss of goods through acceptance of fraudulent documents of title. Neither clause extended the scope of the policy beyond physical loss of or damage to goods.

 

Published by

Professor Simon Baughen

Professor Simon Baughen was appointed as Professor of Shipping Law in September 2013 (previously Reader at the University of Bristol Law School). Simon Baughen studied law at Oxford and practised in maritime law for several years before joining academia. His research interests lie mainly in the field of shipping law, but also include the law of trusts and the environmental law implications of the activities of multinational corporations in the developing world. Simon's book on Shipping Law, has run to five editions and is already well-known to academics and students alike as by far the most learned and approachable work on the subject. Furthermore, he is now the author of the very well-established practitioner's work Summerskill on Laytime. He has an extensive list of publications to his name, including International Trade and the Protection of the Environment. He has also written and taught extensively on commercial law, trusts and environmental law. Simon will be a member of the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, a University Research Centre within the School of Law, and he will teach on both the LLM (Carriage of Goods by Sea, Land and Air and Oil and Gas Law) and LLB programmes at Swansea.

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