KARRI MAHALAXMI Vs. DIVISIONAL MANAGER, ORIENTAL INSURANCE CO.LTD.
ANDHRA PRADESH STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
DIVISIONAL MANAGER, ORIENTAL INSURANCE CO.LTD.
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P.RAMAKRISHNAM RAJU,PRESIDENT -
(1.) THE complainant is a
owner of fishing boat Dolphin type bearing registration number KKD 1754.
It was also registered with the Port Authorities under Registration No.
FKKD 749. The complainant also insured her boat with the opposite party
under policy No. 432502/217/131/MH/079/96 dated 4.12.1995.
(2.) WHILE so that boat sailed out on a fishing voyage from Kakinada Port in the early hours on 29.2.1996 towards Bhyravapalem fishing
grounds. On completion of 3 hauls of fishing it was noticed that the boat
was getting jolts and the crew members got into the engine room and found
that the inner compartments of the boat were filled with water. They also
noticed that the water was gushing from the bottom of the hull. The
driver also confirmed that the stern tube adjacent to stern tube plange
broke away. The driver, therefore, started navigating the boat towards
shore to save the boat and lives. After 30 minutes of the journey towards
the shore the water level has increased and the engine stopped. The crew
placed a marking buoy in that area where the boat started sinking and
they jumped into the sea to save their lives with life -buoys and jerry
cans. The boat capsized at about 8.00 to 9.00 p.m. on 29.2.1996. While
they were swimming one of the boats KKD 1460 which was coming in that
route rescued them and carried them upto Bhyravapalem canal during that
(3.) ON receiving the message the complainants son Ganga Raju intimated the same telegraphically to the opposite party and other
authorities on 1.3.1996. The opposite party appointed M/s. Metcalf and
Hudgkinson Private Limited, Kakinada. Though search operations were
conducted under the instructions of the Surveyor with the help of
Professional Salvers M/s. Dharmadi Apparao and Party the sunken boat
could not be traced. The opposite party maintained stoic silence over the
claim dragging on the same for years without any settlement. Hence this
complaint claiming a compensation of Rs. 5,50,000/ -.
The opposite party while denying the material allegations in the complaint admitted that the complainant is the owner of the boat
bearing registration No. KKD 1754. The registration of the boat expired
by 24.2.1996. There was no renewal of the same from that date. There was
no seaworthiness certificate from the Registrar of Indian Fishing Boats,
Kakinada from 24.2.1996 which is fatal as per the policy conditions.
There was no valid registration on 29.2.1996, the alleged date of mishap.
On coming to know of the mishap the opposite party immediately appointed
M/s. Metcalf and Hudgkinson (P.) Ltd., as Surveyors who reported that the
boat was yawing after one hour of steaming in the direction from
Bhyravapalem and there was no mention of rough weather either by the crew
or Meteorological Department. It is further reported that if the water
has gushed into the boat the floating ship would submerge and in such
circumstances jolting is not associated unless there is heavy weather
disturbance in the sea. It is also not possible for the driver to conduct
investigation by entering into the fish hold as it is not possible to
enter into the fish hold by removing the external covers of the propeller
shaft and inspect the stern gland in the water filled compartment. As the
sky was clear and visibility was 8 miles and many fishing boats are in
the vicinity the mishap could have been noticed by them and the crew
would have easily attended to the loose bolts. The stern tube flange
would never give way in a calm weather condition which is unnatural. As
the claim appears to be suspicious and investigation was ordered and the
outcome of the investigation is awaited there is no deficiency in
service. There is no cause of action for the complainant for approaching
this Commission. The complaint is premature and is liable to be dismissed.;
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