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Old 10-03-2010, 04:24 PM   #1
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Ahoy All , What to do if the oil tanker's insurance underwriter is reluctant to pay to repair oil stain damage to your boat, or worse yet , offers an unacceptablely low compensation.

The US Documented sailboat owned by an American in a marina in Singapore, was oiled due to a collision of a workboat tender and an oil tanker in May 2010 .

Are there any guidelines on how to effectively handle this situation ?

Douglas , S/V Calliste .
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:08 PM   #2
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6 years ago an oil slick resulted in all the boats at my marina being scrubbed and detailed. I wasn't there at the time (away on travel) but came back to a nice shiny boat! I never saw what the boat looked like with the tar on the hull.
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:36 PM   #3
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I've heard similar stories of boats being cleaned by the insurer, etc. Typically it is not just ONE boat that has to be cleaned thus there is a system in place for compensation.

I do know that if the property is maintained in good condition before another party damages it, the injured party is very likely to be fully compensated for the damages. We one time had another party's insurer give us $2500 to repair damage to our then 18 year old car (with a blue book value of only $500) simply because the car was in pristine condition. We were amazed but took the money with a smile on our faces.

However, I also personally know of a older wooden powerboat here in the USA that had not been properly maintained, hauled, had its bottom cleaned regularly, etc, for at least a decade. The boat sat on a mooring and had layers of barnacles on the hull below the waterline, was missing topside and bottomside paint at the waterline, and hull-wise was a mess. The boat was not used by the owner, uninsure-able, and likely to sink any day. It needed hull paint and extensive hull repair BEFORE the incident. When a similar incident of oil spill happened near it, the insurer refused to fully compensate the boat owner. The owner had unwittingly put his boat in a situation to be excessively damaged (by lack of paint) and to not be easily cleaned without undue risk to the boat (all the barnacles were thick and the boat couldn't even be scraped without significant risk to planking and potential leaking/sinking). So while other nearby boats were cleaned and dealt with, the insurer offered this owner a small sum of money. The owner was furious. But, his particular situation was not common and he was unable to do anything about it here in the USA.

If your boat is clean and well maintained, it seems it will be an easy thing to handle. Find out what firm the insurer expected to do the cleaning and ask the insurer to contract directly with them for the work so you need not be involved in the finances of the matter. If the boat is not cleaned to your satisfaction, then I imagine you can demand it to be done properly. Talk with other owners of other boats to see what they are doing. Yours cannot be the only yacht in this situation? If your boat already is having problems with bottom paint, topsides paint, etc, the insurer may just be saying "hey, you've got to paint this soon anyway, so here's some compensation to make it easier."

Good luck in getting your boat cleaned.

PS. I just finished reading this article in the Log which mentions how often we boaters in So. Cal end up scrubbing oil and tar of our boats...and that somehow reminded me that you originally brought up this topic way back on May 31, 2010. Surely you've cleaned the oil off before now? An entire summer has gone by and I can only imagine that the boat has been used and cleaned several times and this is all "old" news and you are simply interested in recouping some of the initial cleaning costs. How much did it cost to clean the boat?
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:58 AM   #4
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Thank You , Redbopeep , for your reply . Always there seems to be extenuating circumstances in every case.

Yes , you are correct about remembering our post back in May 2010 .

There seems to be no remedy or solution in near-by sight .

There are also conflicts that arose between cultures , of Malay , Singaporean, and American .

We all just want our boats to be repaired to the condition that they were in before the oil spill, but there lies the rub !

My wife keeps reminding me that the oil spill was not our fault,,, that we were inocent of any wrong doing,,, so why do we have to accept only a percentage of repairs ?

It is called 3rd party liability claim ,,, what are our responsibilities ?

Douglas
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Old 10-04-2010, 04:44 AM   #5
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I know nothing about the legalities you're discussing. You might get in touch with your own insurer to figure things out.

In life many things happen that are, well, just not fair. We can get wrapped around the axle about them or we can get over it and move on. Everyone has their own philosophy. I can recount many incidents of "damage" to my property or theft of property or customers diverted from my business based on fraud on the part of another business, I can tell you about lost opportunities, actual money lost, security deposits wrongly kept by business or apartment landlords....I could go on and on and on. I won't. I do the paperwork to achieve compensation when I have been wronged and there's a logical way to do so. If it's a tough situation, I move on. Literally. When we were rebuilding our boat, we moved it in the early part of the project to get it out of a bad situation in a boatyard. The move cost us an additional $8,000 to the project. We had documented the issues and wrong doing but we didn't take the "guilty party" to court. Why? It wasn't worth it in emotional distress to deal with the negatives of the situation. My husband and I wrote that off to one of life's lessons and moved on with things. If we'd spent time fighting and bickering and in court, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have gotten our rebuild completed as soon as we did and we'd have been pretty miserable.

It is often hard for people to "move along" and get over things when there is a well defined "guilty party" at the base of the bad thing that has happened to them. Much easier for it to be a natural disaster, a fire, anything. Or, for the guilty party to be someone with nothing--a homeless person that one cannot possibly extract anything from. Then, people seem to be able to get over things more easily.

A little old lady once told me "nobody ever said life was fair" and I'll tell you--it's not. But, so what? pick up the pieces and move along to live a happier life. Get out the scub brushes and clean the hull. Make the next paint job a little earlier.

Our time on this earth is limited--deciding what to do with it is important.

Fair winds
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:40 AM   #6
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If you've been in Singapore these past 5 months only to get this insurance claim resolved, I can imagine you'd be very angry. How much of a settlement was the insurance company offering, compared to the cost to clean the boat up? What has your insurance company had to say about the issue? They have the experience and wherewithal to get more done than you probably could, so where are they in this process?

What marina were you in? Raffles?
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:49 AM   #7
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Hi Brenda and JeanneP , Thank You for your replies, but because of the BP Gulf Oil Spill, I thought this would be a hot topic and info sharing would be abundant.

We had two keel boats that got oiled. My wife's 35 y/o Cape Dory Typhoon, and my 25 y/o Bristol Channel Cutter, both well maintained.

The C D , has the original gelcoat in good condition, and didn't need painting, and it was just anti-fouled before the oil spill.

All the SAF Changi marina boat owners were waiting to clean their boats,,, until after the oil disapated. That was about one month.

There are two travel lift yards in Singapore, a cheapy, and an expensive one,,,, the insurance company made arrangements at the cheapy yard, for boat cleaning.

My wife took her boat to the cheapy yard for cleaning and the oil spill damage survey. That was a mistake.

The cheapy yard didn't protect the slings and during lifting the dirty slings scratched the gel coat.

This yard was in a hurry, and rolled on and alkyline (SP-?) degreaser, on the hull sides and down about a foot onto the antifoul,,,, then they pressure sprayed it all off, some of the oil was blown onto other boats as well as over the gunnel and onto the deck.

The degreaser had dribbled down the bottom leaving streaks to the keel as it was powerful enough to eat through and remove the antifoul itself.

Acetone, MEK , and other cleaners and Thinners were all used to try to remove the oil staining from the porus gelcoat, but the stains remained.

The yard manager reccommended to paint the gelcoat, and supplied a quote to do so, but my wife liked the mostly maintaince free gelcoat, and wouldn't have even thought of painting the boat before this. BTW how do you get paint to stick to oil stains ?

Since it is virtually impossible here to replace the gelcoat, what is to be done , replace the boat , maybe ? The insurance company's underwriter recommended that they would pay 25% toward the topside paint job,,, and only 25% of a new antifoul paint job.

As for my BCC , I will not allow the Cheapy yard to touch my boat, and I cleaned the waterline and topside best as I could using the thinner and scrub down process that was recommended by Awlgrip,,,,, Raffles Marina sprayed the topsides with Awlgrip after repairing the boat from that 2005 Tsunami dammage.

As for our insurance we only could afford public liability after our losses due the financial crisis.

We saw a lawyer, he said get a Loss Adjuster and survey report on each boat, we are doing that now. He also said that the insurance company will be in no hurry to settle our claim and is prepared to wait us out.

I have been thinking of shipping my boat back to the USA and using the US court system to litigate my boat claim from there, as it is a US Documented vessel.

My wife being Asian and familiar with the Singaporean court system , is leaving the proper paper and time trail, should we have to sue , sometime in the future.

All we ever wanted is to get our boats back to the condition they were in before being oiled !

Of course we are learning interesting stuff about oil spills all over the world and the merchant shipping insurance issues, but we have better ways to spend our time.

Douglas
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:46 PM   #8
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Douglas
G'day mate. Try washing the 'gel-coat' down with 'sugar-soap' . You must keep the 'soaped-hull' wet for at least 20 minutes (use a very light spray form a hose) without washing off the 'sugar-soap' and then wash it again with the soap & finally wash it down with water. Try that a couple of times. Get back to me with your progress. There are a few other ;ways to clean 'gel-coat' that I know of. Ciao for now - gotta go catch a plane. james
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:20 PM   #9
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Painting a boat is a quite different from painting a house. The paint is a two-part epoxy, most effectively applied professionally with a spray gun. The original gelcoat must be sanded down, both to roughen up the gelcoat and to remove all oil and wax.

You say that the gelcoat was porous and thus the stains can't be removed. Gelcoat is not maintenance free, and in the tropics it is important that it be waxed and buffed regularly, at least twice a year both to protect it from the damage caused by UV rays, and to provide a barrier coat against dirt and chemicals. Had there been a hard wax protective coat on the gelcoat there might have been less problems with removing the oil, though your description of the cleaning process sounds worse than amateurish, it sounds as if the yard was incompetent. Since the yard destroyed the antifoul, it seems to me that the yard and the insurance company should shoulder the complete responsibility for new bottom paint. Has the insurance company made claims that the boat was due for a new antifoul job anyway and that's why they will pay only 25%?

A good, professionally applied paint job on a boat is almost as good as gelcoat, and for boats that are 35 years old and 25 years old, I would guess that they were already overdue for a paint job.

What a shame that things still haven't been put right. I'd like to hear how it all turns out.
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:19 AM   #10
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It is a shame that things seem messed up after all this time. And, yes, wax is a good thing for gel coat to seal it up and protect it from chemicals and what-not from messing up the gel coat.

I can't wait to hear James' further ideas on the clean-up if his first one doesn't work out. Gel coat is amazingly resilient if it hasn't been let go too long. The boat in question isn't that big, so it seems you should be able to get it done in very short order.

Is the BCC fiberglass or wood? I've seen some lovely wood ones in the San Francisco Bay area this summer.

You'd have to litigate in Federal court for the matter you're discussing. You'd want to check into it, but it seems that there's a hefty filing fee for doing so (I'm thinking the fee is around $4-$5K) in Federal court. I'm not a lawyer, but I'd doubt that you could do anything in a state court. Unless you have a friend who's a lawyer who can help you out...this isn't sounding very cost effective. Seems the actual cost of shipping the boat back to the US wouldn't be small either. All-in-all, it just sounds like you're better off cleaning the boat and moving on with other activities.

I've already given you my song-and-dance on "move on" and spend your energies elsewhere (including cleaning up your boats! and enjoying them).

Life is short--I did mention that already? Well, you've now got a good story to add to your "stories of life abroad" and all.

I could tell you an amazing story...No, I think I WILL tell you the story... about how when we were moving from the US West Coast to Japan in 1991, the movers, on the way out the door, dropped my (already crated) shiny and perfect two year old grand piano onto my husband's car (which was going into storage the next day). They immediately paid for the car damage (mentioned above) of replacing a door before the car was stored and having the door painted to match the car (which was done 2 years later when the car came out of storage) but there was no time to un-crate the piano to look for damage--that would have to be done in Japan since the crate looked fine). When the piano was taken out of the crate 6 weeks later in our new home in Japan, there were indentations/imperfections in the previously perfect lacquer along the straight side where it was secured to the "piano board" in the bottom of the crate. Even though they were not small, nobody but me would have even noticed that they'd not been there before, btw. After a couple frustrating months of trying to deal with the Japanese side of the movers and hubby's employer's movers' rep who'd paid for the move/crate/etc, as well as dealing with our own insurer with which we had a policy for high value items including the piano...I decided my sanity and time were more important than the value of those cosmetics which would never be able to be fixed without it "showing." I "moved on" to other things. No money was ever collected, no repair was ever performed, a note was made in our file with our own insurer that if cracks showed up in the dented areas they'd deal with the lacquer. No cracks ever showed up before we changed insurers two years later. No, the piano isn't perfect anymore because of that. And, yes, it was clearly somebody's fault--not ours. And, I coulda' pushed and pushed that noodle up a hill to obtain compensation. However, that's not my thing. I'd rather be enjoying life

I now have a great story about my favorite thing in life -(my piano) attacking David's favorite thing (his car) and how it all turned out. We laugh about it and feel thankful that nothing truly horrible happened to either one or to us. The piano is still very lovely, sounds great, and those indentations don't really show and the car has had lots of fun times following the 1991 incident as well. Pics...because I like pics and we don't see enough of them on CL...are of the piano in 2006 right before we sold the house and lent the piano to a friend and of the car during an auto enthusiasts event in 2000.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:05 AM   #11
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Red,

It would be nice if we could walk away from the situation and move on to better things in life. I wish very much (and envy you very much), but our current situation doesnt allow us too. That being the 1st reason why we continue to pursue this matter.

The 2nd reason is this. There has been some bullying by persons representing the insurance co, in the ways of "taking things personally", making things difficult by deliberate delay tactics that are aimed at exhausting our resources and patience. In essence, those that allow themselves to be bullied into some token settlement will be taken full advantage of by the insr co reps, and then will be used as examples for 1) glorifying their ability to pay out for less than their liability, so that they look good to the insr co and ensure future engagements 2) pressurizing other victims to not dispute the low settlement and just accept whatever they deem as fair.

Another thing that comes to my mind, in the event of a long drawn settlement dispute, the reps may make more money as they charge the insr by the hours of handling the dispute. So perhaps this is an deliberate attempt at milking the cow and denying the calf. I dun know this, just a speculation.

As of now, our boats are cleaned, but stained above waterline, and fouled below waterline. Our finances do not allow us to rectify that situation right now, and so we have to pursue the matter. I really do wish we could move on... (see, I really do envy your comfortable situation).
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:33 AM   #12
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I can understand the view on the insurance rep's.

My Father retired from the re-insurance/underwriter world some years ago. His basic view of the insurance industry is legalized racketeering. I will leave off the rest of his views as this is a family board, he retired as a Senior VP with all the credentials that you can get in the industry. Now he does what he enjoys, studying and writing about the sections of history that interest him and teaching others.

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Old 10-11-2010, 05:19 PM   #13
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Dear Lang,

I have empathy for your situation for we have found ourselves in situations that many people would find untenable. By finding the best way through such difficult situations, you will become stronger and within that strength you will prosper. It is my firm belief that this is so.

There are practical matters at hand (finances and boat related) and there are issues about how one chooses to live one's life--a matter of philosophy. these are both important.

The matter of people taking things personally turns this into a "fight" and you may choose to fight that fight, it is your right to do so and no one can say you are doing the wrong thing. In my philosophy of life, this fight does not fit in. I don't care how terrible another person is, nor how "right" I am to fight the fight. What I care about is if I am living the life I want to live and if my days are filled with goodness rather than negative feelings. I could not fight the fight that you may choose to fight. My energy, my health, my entire constitution is not up to that sort of thing. I would walk away with nothing before hurting my soul with such negative matters.

On the other hand, if there were absolutely NO way for me (financially or physically) to fix matters on my own, then I would continue to pursue the insurer. However, from what you have stated, I feel I would be able to get in the water, scrape the fouling off my boat myself, buff and polish my hull above the waterline myself (even while the boat is in the water) and move on with my life. Some people with very little resources scrub and scrape their boats week after week in warm waters while they are trying to get the money together for a haulout. Some racers refuse to use anti-fouling paint and do the same. Where there is a will there is a way to fix each and every problem.

You make several references to not having the financial resources to handle the matter--it is possible that you can cruise to another less costly location? If you are not cruisers living aboard your boat(s), perhaps you should sell one of them in order to be able to properly maintain the other boat? It is very difficult to manage one boat let alone two boats on a tight budget.

It seems that this terrible thing of someone making things personal may have forced you to focus upon that "personal" deed rather than the practicalities of the matter. A good though process would be for you to "pretend" that there is NO insurer and ask yourself what you would do to fix this matter on your own. Once you have resolved what that would be, perhaps you can do it so that your boats will be taken care of properly and you can enjoy them.

Fair winds,
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Old 10-13-2010, 01:32 PM   #14
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Hi Brenda , What does " Leaving A Clean Wake " mean to you ?

I have been a long time member (until recently) of Seven Seas Cruising Assn ., and those of us who subscribe to the "Leaving A Clean Wake", and sharing cruising information, in their attitude are welcome to join that organization.

You say that you would rather run away than fight a battle that could help incoming cruisers sometime down the time line .

Would that be leaving a clean wake ?

If the insurance underwriters could bank on the fact that cruising sailors could be bullied away and would not stay and defend their claims and rights, would that be leaving a clean wake for others to follow ?

Although we agree with you that it may be better to leave sleeping dogs lay, and tuck our tail under our hind quarters and run , but when and under what circumstances would justice prevail ? Why are we as cruisers in foreign waters required to maintain 3rd party liability insurance, at all ? Why are the oil tankers required that too ?

If we all were responsible for any damage to public and private property , would there be anyone still interested in cruising , if they thought that what ever happens to them and their boats or near-by public property, will be determined to be their fault and that they have to cover and pay damages to their boats and public property as well as to others too ?

What if the oil tanker insurance company said it was our fault for berthing our boats in that marina, which they are insinuating already, in trying to avoid paying a justified claim ?

Obviously , your view has great merit and wisdom ,and that is what works for you , but we are not asking for sympthy here , just instead we are asking for help from knowledgable cruisers who wish to share helpfull information on the legal responsibilities of cruising our boats in foreign waters .

If our boats were so lucky as your piano to only get a few dings in this mishap , we might feel the same way as you, but this is a bit different , and still relevant to cruisers who follow in our wake .

We do Thank You , for your advice and the time you took to share that with us and your stories too , but we do know that there are lawyers as well as doctors out here cruising and we hoped that your forum would reach them for the advice we need .

I wish to apologise in advance, to anyone who finds my thoughts or writings offensive, as I know of no other way to ask for help from a cruisers forum .

Douglas , S/V Calliste , Singapore
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:30 PM   #15
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My goodness.

Clean wake huh?

I hope as we delve into this mire, that all CL members will get a little something out of it and hopefully contribute their experiences to help you as well.

I will repeat myself--It is most certainly your right to fight for what you believe is due you and no one can say that you are wrong to do so. This is your right. However, I believe we are far afield from the clean wake concept with such a dispute as you are contemplating lawsuits et al. If anything in these sorts of matters, leaving a clean wake means to do everything within one's powers to not create animosity between the cruiser community and host countries and the rest of the maritime industry. Even if that means walking away from the fight which you have the right to get into.

Depending on the circumstances, making waves by staking out a position and fighting for it can have very negative consequences for other cruisers. This means not leaving a clean wake! If you are in a commercial basin, that basin could be closed to yachts in the future if it is deemed too much of a problem to deal with the litigious yachties. If your marina borders a commercial basin and the harbor has been contemplating closing access to small boats there, this is the sort of thing that can allow local authorities the excuse to close off access to small boats. If small boats aren't allowed near the big commercial boats, then the small boats can't be harmed by the big boats, etc.

The cost of cruising goes up for ALL cruisers when free anchorages, mooring fields, and inexpensive marinas close by to commercial basins are closed forcing cruisers to use more expensive berths. Hopefully you are not in a situation where local authorities are considering such things, but, your actions WILL have consequence for all cruisers in your area and while you may achieve your goals, don't think that the outcomes will be positive for those who follow you. It depends upon the local situation—which I have no knowledge of.

I suggest that one NOT cower or hide but rather that one behave with dignity and take a well-reasoned approach to maintaining one's balanced state of wellbeing. That balance considering the negative toll (emotionally) that such fights typically take on people against the financial gain one might win in such a fight. This issue is not one of pride or ego but rather of what makes the most sense overall.

BTW, I mentioned the “perfect finish” of the piano simply because it is a good analog as it was impossible to re-finish the high gloss lacquer without redoing the entire case of the piano. There was a “loss” which could never actually be recovered in that it was no longer “perfect” without such drastic action. It is the sort of matter and of such value that some people would have gone to court to be compensated properly. I believe the analog is quite good in that the gelcoat on one of your boats, though aged, is like the new unblemished laquer in that you don't necessarily wish to paint the gelcoat now, you wished to wait a few more years until it couldn't be avoided for reasons of age and maintenance rather than what someone else did which resulted in damage to your property. Further, cost similarities actually do exist as well. But, moving on...if you didn't get the analogy, you didn't get it, that's ok. Um, also, I never got a response from you on the BCC—is it wood or fiberglass? I own a wood boat and I'm truly interested to know as there are some matters of maintaining a wooden hull which are very different from that of a fiberglass hull and might explain your concern about your painted BCC hull.

I did not mean to suggest that you simply drop matters but rather that you fix your boat(s) and get on with life. I do not know the laws of the country you are in. I do know that many people in the USA do fix things and then present the bill to the responsible party. It may take months or years for the responsible party to pay, if ever, but the “injured” party can move on with life while waiting. It would seem that you should be able to get on with things, happily, while waiting for whatever you're waiting for in terms of compensation. If you are not cruising but rather staying there anyway (which it seems from your statements), then there seems no reason to not simply enjoy your boat(s) in the meanwhile. We would all love to know that you are using your boat(s) and enjoying them. You came to this forum for help with the matter and we are trying to do our best to help you on many levels. CL member James suggested a cleaning method, in his concern for your situation, and he as well as other CL members (myself included) would love to know if you have success at remedy for the final stains above the waterline which you stated still exist and if not, perhaps there are other methods that James can suggest. No CL member is going to be able to give you legal advice. Even though you only carry liability insurance on your boats, you are likely to be able to obtain sound advice from your own insurer and your own lawyer in-country.

I agree with you that one doesn't walk away from broad issues that impact an entire group, like “cruisers” at large. However, it is often difficult for one to be an advocate for a group if one has something immediate and personal to gain from the advocacy stance. Cruising groups like Seven Seas can act as advocates often because it is clear that their agenda is broad (for all cruisers) and not specific to the gain of a single cruiser. If one has had a bad experience in the past, it is often possible for that person to use the information to get business and government action taken so that others won't experience what the first person did.

Your statement “If we all were responsible for any damage to public and private property , would there be anyone still interested in cruising , if they thought that what ever happens to them and their boats or near-by public property, will be determined to be their fault and that they have to cover and pay damages to their boats and public property as well as to others too ?”

Well...ummm...we ARE responsible to others for the damage that our boats do. That is why we carry liability insurance. And, even if it is a storm that drives one's boat ashore, it can be found that one didn't diligently enough anchor or other matters within one's own control were such that one IS responsible for damage to public and private properties. This does happen with frequency, actually in the USA and other first world countries as well as the rest of the world. Ever since people have been cruising with yachts, they have been paying for fixing other people's stuff. It is a risk we all take.

And sometimes, even when well insured, cruisers have to personally back their liability; I know of a cruiser who, to leave Mexico, had to leave a sum of money to pay for a run-in he had with another boat there. He did leave the money in escrow so he could get on with his cruising to other parts of the world. The incident was NOT his fault. The other party didn't get the money. It may take a very long time for him to get his money back, if ever, when the courts get around to dealing with his case. But, he wanted to continue cruising and the situation of staying in Mexico while waiting out the matter didn't work for him. He's happily cruising elsewhere right now. These things do happen and they are part of cruising..

Your statement “What if the oil tanker insurance company said it was our fault for berthing our boats in that marina, which they are insinuating already, in trying to avoid paying a justified claim ?” They may say that. If your marina is less costly because it is very near a commercial basin, they may point to that fact. It may be determined to be true in the local courts even if you and I believe it is not true. This is a good reason for you to have local legal counsel so you can understand what you're dealing with. Sometimes there are places where just being there does put you at fault. While we lived in Japan, we were fully aware that if we were in a car accident even if the other party was really 100% at fault, the accident would always be assigned at least 20-25% our fault and we (our insurer) would have to share payment of repairs to public and private property. Why? Because we were foreigners to Japan and their legal system uses the logic that if the foreigners had not been IN the country, they would not have been in the auto accident and even sometimes they go so far to rule that if the foreigners' car weren't in that exact location (a perfectly legal location) then no accident would have happened at all! Therefore, some percentage of the accident is always the foreigners fault and it can be a large percentage. Is that fair or logical? No, not to my Western mind. But, that is the way it is for foreigners in Japan. If one wishes to live and drive there as we did for a couple years, we just has to deal with the risk of someone else doing something totally wrong and us paying for part, or all, of their mistake.

The great thing about being a cruiser is that you can move on to a different country, of your choosing, that suits your best interests. There is really not a reason to stick around someplace with laws, industry practice, or culture that does not make you happy.

I truly do hope that you have good and quick success at getting your boat(s) stain-free and in use cruising soon and that you manage to put this matter behind you.

Fair winds,
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:27 AM   #16
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Douglas,

I have been a member of the SSCA since 1987. My interpretation of the Clean Wake philosophy is a bit different from yours. The emphasis has been to conduct yourself in such a way that those cruisers following you will not have to deal with unhappy locals who were treated badly by cruising visitors to their country. I would not have thought of the clean wake philosophy as making sure that I, as a cruiser, was not taken advantage of by the legal system of the host country so that fellow cruisers coming to that country would not be taken advantage of.

Part of the clean wake philosophy is to not be a burden to the host country. I.e., one has sufficient insurance or funds so that accidents and ill health, regardless of "blame", would not compel the host country to support/pay for treatment/pay for damages due to the cruiser's presence.

I hate to make assumptions, but I don't understand your question, "Why are we as cruisers in foreign waters required to maintain 3rd party liability insurance, at all ? Why are the oil tankers required that too ?" Are you contending that you should not be expected/required to maintain 3rd party liability insurance? Although I think I am misinterpreting your comments, I'm not sure I understand what you do mean?

We found Singapore to be an amazing city, with a great emphasis on neat and tidy, plants and trees. Did you know that if a driver runs his car into one of the trees and damages it, he is responsible for paying for the replacement of that tree? They carry English common law to an extreme.

To my knowledge there aren't any Singapore barristers active on any of the cruising forums. There might be a few persons knowledgeable about maritime law, but again, I don't recall any practicing maritime lawyers frequenting any of the forums. And that, I'm afraid, is what you need. A professional, Singaporean, barrister with a practice in maritime law. I feel fairly confident that you could find one in Singapore. If you have your own hull insurance, I'm fairly sure your insurance company could help you there.

Finally, we have a friend who was unhappy with the insurance settlement offered him for damage to his home, and he hired an independent insurance consultant to negotiate with the insurance company. You might ask some people in Singapore if there are such specialists there.

Your best bet is to befriend some connected and knowledgeable Singaporeans who can help you find the local assistance you need. The population is what, 90% Chinese? One has to accept that you have to do it their way. It's their country, they can do whatever they want with it.

If you're in a Singapore marina, there are lots of Singaporeans there. What are they doing about this?
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:01 AM   #17
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Hello Douglas,

I shall send you a PM with the private contact details of a friend who has a home both in Thailand and Singapore. He is also an insurance executive and a yachtsman (Sailor).

I should also shortly have the contact details of one of Singapore's top marine lawyers. She is the sister of a good friend in England who is married to a yachtsman who is very familiar with the waters of South East Asia; he and I sailed together.

Richard
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:15 PM   #18
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Jeanie,

That was Douglas in one of his rants.. during such times, some of the things he write only makes sense to him. I avoid making sense of what he says during such occasions and wait a day or so to ask again what he meant to say. And this is what I think he meant: If we have the means and ability to make a stand and fight injustice, we should do it. Otherwise, we become just another one of the victims(examples) that will be used to discourage future victims from even finding out what they rights are. Leaving a clean wake, for others to follow, in this case is like setting a example. Maybe its a stretch from the original intent of the "clean wake" in the SSCA... I am not a member and I cant comment on that.

Anyway, in our particular situation, we see ourselves based in SG till mid next year. We are not stuck here because of the oil spill incident. I have a job here and slowly we are buying the bits and pieces of equipment and making the repairs when we can afford. We could move across the border, which is cheaper, but we will have no income. Thats why we are here in SG.

The status of our claim is now this. We filed the claims way early in Jun and July, and never heard from the reps. Whenever we wrote to enquire about the status, they send back a standard reply " We will revert to you in due time. " In early Sept, we heard that some other boats that filed claims much later than us have been settled. That was when we start seeking legal advise. Our 1st meeting with the lawyer (was free), and his advise was for us to get our own independant surveyor and loss adjuster.

We hired the most recognized pleasure craft surveyor here in SG and he too finds it strange how the reps were treating us. He took up our case, set up a meeting with the reps and then we starting getting more info thru him.

Thru our surveyor, we finally obtained written documents from the reps that shows the oil tanker is liable for our damage. Prior to this, all our request for case numbers and reference numbers were never entertained. We had no written document to show that we even have a case with them, and yet they instruct us over the phone(only), to go buy the stuff and repair the boat in whatever way we deem fit. Thats was scary! We did proceed to buy the ropes and fenders and cleaning solutions, but we could not afford to haul the boat for painting. We cleaned the boats ourselves and moved to another marina in SG that was not affected by the oil spill. Thats where we stop and waited for their response.

Now, the only dispute is how much is reasonable to pay. Their 1st offer to us was absurd! And we only got that because our surveyor was able to request that they state what they were willing to pay. And our surveyor agrees that the offer was way too ridiculous.

I would say that we are making progress, with the help of the surveyor, but I am not confident that they next offer will be reasonable. The fact that they are delaying our claims has cost us more, as our surveyor points out to us.

Our situation is stablized. Our boats are not sinking, and not too much of an eyesore to our neighbours. We are proceeding with what we have to do, in preparation of cruising Calliste across the Pacific next year.

The prospect of diving and cleaning the bottom every few weeks is not appealing to us, as we will eventually go into cold or shark infested waters. Repairing the underwater part correctly is a must. As Red said, think what we would do if they were no liable insurers. It simply means that I would have to work harder and earn that money for fixing the bottom properly before we take off next year.

Richard, we would really appreciate the contact of a good marine lawyer. The 1st lawyer that we met with, I am not quite impressed with his laid back attitude .. perhaps he was too comfortable with his place in society and dont really want to bother with such small cases.

Thanks everybody hearing us out and contributing your views. We dont always agree, but thats natural for differences in opinions as our situations in life are very different.

Cheers! (Lets get drunk and forget it for a moment. We'll deal with it when our attitude is better )
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lang View Post

Richard, we would really appreciate the contact of a good marine lawyer. The 1st lawyer that we met with, I am not quite impressed with his laid back attitude .. perhaps he was too comfortable with his place in society and dont really want to bother with such small cases.
Hi, Lang and Caliste,

Rather than a PM I have emailed you both & BCC'd the Marine Lawyer herself. What I have sent you is the contact details - which will require you to provide a good outline of the situation with the tanker's insurers - I have included a brief resume of this Marine Lawyer - she is a tough cookie and being a Singaporean herself is well placed to advise you both on the next course of action.

Good Luck

Richard
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:04 AM   #20
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Default Almost 2 years since that fateful day...

Well, I thought some of you cruisers might want to know how this is being resolved.

We hired a Singapore law firm to negotiate with the underwritters local reps. Sometime in Sept 2011, SV Eleanor was compensated for the damages, 3 times the original offered settlement. It was clear that we were going nowhere if we didnt have legal representation.

We used Eleanor's case to familiarize ourselves with the system and now are working on Calliste's case. In our lawyers opinion, there is 3 possible outcome. 1) We accept the low offer and move on. 2) The underwritters work out a acceptable offer, under pressure from our lawyers. 3) We go to court and receive an amount determined by the judge, after putting a lien on the vessel and seizing it when it enters Singapore port, make the company lose lots of money in terms of time and port dues, making the underwritters pay for court and our legal fees.

We can easily chose option 3, even if it is just to make them pay and probably not get additional gain to ourselves, because this is a case of 100% liability of the tanker and their underwritters. However, we still hope that we can work out something reasonable and therefore resolve with option 2...

My personal thoughts, at this time (meaning hindsight), there is no right or wrong actions. Everybody have to make a choice for themselves, choices that they can live with. We found that, we are the kind of people that stand up against bullys and work to get justice. We are pretty comfortable with ourselves and are now looking forward to cruising again. ..

Cheers!
Lang.
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