Masefield AG v Amlin Corporate Member Ltd: Case comment

AuthorKarishma A. Galliara
SSLR Masefield v Amlin Vol 1(2)
Masefield AG v Amlin Corporate Member Ltd
Case Comment
Karishma A. Galliara
he recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Masefield AG v Amlin
Corporate Member Ltd1 is probably one of the first to comprehensively
consider the impact of piracy on marine insurance and to reiterate the
status of ransom payments in English Law. With piracy increasingly posing a
menace to the shipping industry in general and a hindrance to the economic
efficiency of shipping operations in particular, it is common ground that hull
and cargo interests would be looking towards their respective insurers to make
good any loss caused by piratical seizures. In this context, the decision
certainly goes some distance in clarifying aspects pertaining to recoverability
of the assured under its marine policy.
The present case comment sets out, the factual circumstances of the decision
along with the rationale for the decision itself and further attempts to
highlight the issues left unanswered therein, before concluding that this
decision, although a significant recent development in marine insurance law,
should be regarded as one decided in a specific factual matrix and as only the
tip of the iceberg when it comes to truly analysing the intersection of marine
insurance and piracy.
The vessel Bunga Melati Dua was carrying the appellant assured’s cargoes of
biodiesel on a voyage between Malaysia and Rotterdam when she was
captured on 19 August 2008 in the Gulf of Aden by Somali pirates and taken
with her crew into Somali coastal waters. Negotiations for seeking release of
the vessel, crew and cargoes were commenced almost immediately by the
vessel’s owners and although the assured was not a party to these negotiations,
it was kept informed of the progress of the negotiations as well as of the
possibilities of recovery, from time to time.
The cargo had been insured with the respondent insurers, the insurance
covering loss by both piracy and theft. Almost a month after the piratical
capture, whilst negotiations for release were continuing, the assured served a
notice of abandonment on the insurers. Though the notice was rejected,
proceedings were by agreement deemed to have been commenced on the date
of tender of the notice of abandonment. Meanwhile, about 11 days later, the

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