Inchmaree Clause Definition

What is an Inchmaree Clause?

An Inchmaree clause is found in maritime Insurance policies and provides cover for the ship’s hull against loss or damage caused by machinery. The Inchmaree clause, also known as the negligence clause, covers damages caused by the negligence of ship’s personnel, such as engineers and captains, during navigation. It’s a kind of supplement perils clause.

Key points to remember

  • Inchmaree clauses are used in ship insurance policies, providing cover for the negligent acts of ship personnel.
  • This clause insures the ship’s cargo, which may be lost or damaged due to the actions of the ship’s crew.
  • The Inchmaree clause can cover damages for issues such as broken driveshafts, burst boilers and hull defects, and covers accidents, as well as negligence for things such as lack of repairs.

How an Inchmaree Clause Works

The Inchmaree Clause was, in large part, developed with the advent of steam navigation and shipboard machinery. Shipping goods across vast oceans can involve great risk. In addition to storms that may sink or flood a ship, the actions of the ship’s crew and other personnel responsible for maintaining a ship in good working order can result in damage to cargo. of the ship. For example, a boiler that is not properly maintained can explode, causing loss of power and grounding of the vessel, or a tree can become detached and strike objects held in the hold.

The Inchmaree Clause generally provides additional coverage for damage or loss caused by broken drive shafts, burst boilers, hull defects and other issues associated with a vessel and vessel equipment. Additionally, the policies will cover the negligence of a ship’s officers, engineers and crew, including navigational errors. The Inchmaree clause also extends to damage resulting from accidents during the loading, unloading and handling of the goods; negligence of shippers or repairers; accidents when entering and exiting dry docks, scraper docks, etc. ; and explosions on board or elsewhere.

Until the establishment of the Inchmaree clause, most cargo insurance policies only covered risks occurring on the high seas, such as bad weather. This changed at the end of the 19th century. The Inchmaree clause takes its name from a British court case, Hamilton v. James and Mersey Insurance. The case concerned the Inchmaree, a British steamship which sank in the Port of Liverpool in 1884.

The ship’s cargo was damaged when an internal pump flooded the holding area, but the cargo owners’ claims were rejected by the insurer as the damage was not caused by “risks of the sea “. The marine insurance industry came under pressure to provide additional cover for accidents that were not caused by the sea but rather caused by other factors such as negligence.

Special Considerations

There is often a tension between the Inchmaree clause and the guarantees under the policy. Warranties, especially promissory warranties, are commonly found in almost (if not all) marine insurance policies.

The guarantee is considered as an essential clause of the contract, the non-respect of which discharges the insurer from his liability, without doubt, even if there is no causal link between the breach of the guarantee and the insured damage.

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