Judgment against insurers for salvage costs.

Last 18 of October 2010 the High Court of Malaga issued a judgment against Messrs. Mapfre Industrial S.A. holding them to indemnfy a stevedoring Co. under the terms of their insurance policy.

The facts giving rise to this case took place by the end of 2005 where one of the cranes that were being prepared for the discharge operations of 55.000 tonnes of bulk cargo resulted damaged. The stevedoring firm, after seeking advice from the the port Authorities, decided to order the ship to evacuate the port in order to secure the crane and berthing area. As a result, the vessel had to wait outside the port for several days and expenses were incurred in excess of EUR 140.000,00, an amount that the stevedores had to pay the charterers for.

In turn, the stevedoring sought redress from his liability insurers but the latter refused to cover the claim on the ground that there was no actual damage to third parties and thus the salvage costs were not recoverable under the insurance policy.

The High Court refused the arguments of the liability insurers and held that the costs arising from the stevedoring firm’s decision to order the vessel to leave the port were incurred in order to prevent damages to third parties under the scope of the policy and accordingly were to be indemnified by the insurers.

Arizon Abogados SLP represented the successful stevedoring firm; Dolores Pérez Mazuecos intervened in all the hearings and Felipe Arizon drafted the lawsuit.


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