Lloyd's Law Reporter


[2019] EWHC 1099 (Comm), Queen's Bench Division, Commercial Court, Sir Michael Burton (sitting as a High Court Judge), 29 April 2019

Shipping - General average - Cargo claim - Unseaworthiness - Whether defendant shipowners entitled to summary judgment or to have claim struck out - Proper test for summary judgment and striking out

The vessel Maersk Karachi was discharging and loading at berth in Bremerhaven, Germany, when on 14 May 2015 a terminal gantry crane collapsed on the vessel. On 16 May the shore fire brigade attended and on 18 May "hot works" commenced to remove the gantry crane. On 22 May the escape of sparks and/or hot metal caused a fire to start in the hold. The fire was extinguished by 23 May but caused substantial damage to the cargo. Some 130 claimants, cargo owners or as insurers under general average guarantees, sought a declaration that they were not liable for general average and also some sought compensation for cargo damage from the defendant owners. The question in the present application was whether the allegation of unseaworthiness, based on faulty systems on board the vessel, should be struck out or in the alternative that summary judgment should be given for the owners.

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