On 5th November, an article from law firm Ince reported that war risk underwriters have succeeded in rejecting a $77 million claim on the basis that the constructive total loss of the Brillante Virtuoso was caused by the wilful misconduct of the shipowner. The vessel was boarded by apparent militants off Somalia in 2011 and apparently hijacked the ship. It is said that the fundamental question was whether the owner had arranged for a “fake” attack by pirates and for a fire to be deliberately set on his vessel in order to bring a total loss claim, and perhaps benefit from a further conspiracy with salvors to share in a lucrative salvage award. The article concludes by saying that it remains to be seen whether the judgment will be appealed, although arguably its thoroughness could make it hard to appeal.
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