Consumer panel orders payment of sum for sinking vessel

Consumer panel directs payment of sum for sinking of cargo vessel

The Commission headed by presiding member Anup K Thakur also awarded Rs 50,000 as litigation cost to the vessel owners

Representative image/Credit: AFP Photo

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed an insurance firm to award a sum of Rs 1.75 crore with 6% annual interest to the owners of a cargo vessel which got sank en route to Sharjah after being hit by an object in 2009.

The Commission headed by presiding member Anup K Thakur also awarded Rs 50,000 as litigation cost to the vessel owners.

The panel, after hearing advocate Vipin Nair for Mavji Kanji Jungi and others, concluded in its order on Tuesday that the insured vessel, which was certified to be seaworthy, sank on December 16/17, 2009, after being hit an unidentified object, causing huge ingress of water.

It rejected the contention of the insurance company that it was a poorly maintained vessel, propelled by engine as against sails, which caused vibrations over a period, resulting into breach in the hull and thereby sinking of the vessel.

The Commission also found as "unreasonable" for the insurance company to disregard a report of the first surveyor, which on detailed enquiry, found that the vessel was lost irretrievably due to the accident.

The insurance company, for its part, had repudiated the claim, after an investigator, appointed subsequently, arrived at its opinion that it was not possible that some unidentified object in the deep sea could have been the cause of accident.

The panel said the insurance company was "mistaken in accepting the investigator's report in toto and making it the basis for repudiation of the claim".