Brownsville Holdings Ltd v Adamjee Insurance Co Ltd (“The Milasan”): 2000

A 90 foot motor yacht sank in calm weather in the course of a voyage from Piraeus to Sardinia with a crew of three: a skipper, an engineer and a deckhand.
Held: The owner’s insurance claim failed. There had been a breach of warranty in these terms: ‘Warranted professional skippers and crew in charge at all times.’ The claimants accepted that this was a promissory warranty – there was no argument that it was a term simply delimiting or describing the risk. Aikens J: ‘I accept . . that a practical construction must be given to the words of the warranty. I think it is clear that the insurers were concerned to ensure that the vessel was properly looked after all the time, both winter and summer, and wherever she was – whether cruising or in a marina for the winter months.
The ‘skipper’ together with the ‘crew’ has to be ‘in charge’ of the vessel ‘at all times’. In my view the wording ‘professional skippers and crew to be in charge’ means that the skipper and the crew’ together are to take care of and manage the vessel; that is the sense in which they are to be ‘in charge’ of her. They are also to be ‘in charge’ of the vessel together ‘all the time’. The last phrase is . . quite clear. It means that there must be a professional skipper and a crew that looks after the vessel the whole time, as opposed to intermittently or at intervals.’ As the claimants had not employed anyone who was a ‘professional skipper’ over a period of time, they were in breach of warranty. In summary ‘On the proper construction of the ‘professional skipper warranty’ the claimants were obliged to keep a suitably qualified skipper on board the yacht at all times . . ..’


Aikens J


[2000] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 458, [2000] EWHC 223 (Comm)



Cited by:

CitedGE Frankona Reinsurance Ltd v CMM Trust No.1400 (the ‘Newfoundland Explorer’) AdCt 22-Mar-2006
The owner sought to claim under his insurance policy. The yacht was, in the policy warranted to be fully crewed at all times. The owner had left the boat to return a few hours later when it was found on fire.
Held: The insurance claim failed. . .
CitedPratt v Aigaion Insurance Company SA (‘the Resolute’) CA 27-Nov-2008
The court considered the interpretation of a term in a contract of insurance to the effect that ‘Warranted Owner and/or Owner’s experienced skipper on board and in charge at all times and one experienced crew member.’, asking whether ‘at all times’ . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Transport, Insurance

Updated: 06 July 2022; Ref: scu.242640