Britain Steamship Company Limited v The King and Others (‘The Matiana’): CA 1919

References: [1919] 2 KB 670
Coram: Bailhache J
(Year?) The steamship was insured under a time policy against perils of the sea and stranding, and under further insurance against risks excluded under the first, particularly risks of hostile action. It was in a convoy of four ships zig zagging in the dark under the command of a naval officer to avoid possible torpedos. The court considered whether a merchant ship had been acting when in convoy as a military vessel: ‘sailing in convoy on a chosen route and taking precautionary measures [zig-zagging] necessary because of the presence of hostile submarines had led to the vessel being stranded. It was subsequently torpedoed’.
Held: There was no negligence on the part of the ship’s master or of the naval officer. The loss was not he proximate consequence of warlike operations, and responsibilty fell on the insurers, and not the King.
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Last Update: 19-Jan-16 Ref: 237696