The Spencer Company

We are New York's premier independent average adjusting company and have built a new website with great assistance from our friends at Kinix Media - please stop by.

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Can you spare a minute to help Jonathan Spencer? 07/10/2021

Can you spare a minute to help Jonathan Spencer?

Can you spare a minute to help Jonathan Spencer? Provide an enforceable global protocol for "green channel" travel for seafarers

Ever Given, general average and why shippers will share the costs of a ship's rescue 04/09/2021

Ever Given, general average and why shippers will share the costs of a ship's rescue

Great article with a clear description of the general average process - something of a rarity in the trade press!

Ever Given, general average and why shippers will share the costs of a ship's rescue Shippers are in for a lengthy and complicated process to collect cargo and provide documentation to adjusters.


Strangest thing I've seen in a while-

Strangest thing I've seen in a while-

French Coffee And Wine Cargo Yacht Completes Atlantic Voyage – gCaptain 03/05/2021

French Coffee And Wine Cargo Yacht Completes Atlantic Voyage – gCaptain

Great to see a venture like this succeeding.

French Coffee And Wine Cargo Yacht Completes Atlantic Voyage – gCaptain by Manuel Ausloos (Reuters) – In a return to the age of the clipper, a French company is using a sailing boat to ply the trade routes that pre-dated steam...

[01/24/18]   Interesting case note from Jason P. Minkin and Jonathan A. Cipriani of BatesCarey in Chicago concerning the Liner Negligence Clause, reported in Sam Ignarski's Maritime Advocate Online, remarking that the "Liner Negligence Clause [...] broadens the cover available under a marine insurance policy beyond the classic "perils" clause to losses caused by certain machinery or hull defects, or by the negligence of certain individuals".

"This expansion in coverage is not, however, unlimited. This is demonstrated by Starnet Insurance Co. v. LA Marine Service LLC, No. 16-13511, 2017 WL 6604843 (E.D. La. Dec. 27, 2017), which found that no coverage was available under a time-hull insurance policy for a vessel that sank as a result of the policyholder's lack of due diligence.

"In Starnet, the insured vessel sank after water entered the engine room through the shafts, stuffing boxes, and packing gland assemblies. The relevant policy included a Liner Negligence Clause, which covered losses caused by specified machinery, including "breakage of shafts" and "any latent defect in the machinery or hull." The policy also provided, however, that to come within the protection of the Liner Negligence Clause, the loss must not have resulted from a "want of due diligence by the Assured(s), the Owner(s) or Manager (s) of the Vessel, or any of them."

"The policyholder claimed coverage under the Liner Negligence Clause, arguing that the damage to the vessel resulted from a premature failure of the stuffing box. The insurer took the position that the Liner Negligence Clause did not cover the loss because it was caused by the lack of diligence of the vessel owner-specifically, a failure to properly maintain the vessel's stuffing boxes. The insurer also claimed, as a separate coverage defense, that the insured violated the American Rule. As the Starnet court explained, the American Rule consists of two warranties that federal maritime law implies in every time hull insurance policy: an "absolute warranty of seaworthiness at the inception of the policy" and a "modified, negative warranty, under which the insured promises not to knowingly send a vessel in an unseaworthy condition." The court also noted, however, that the text of a Liner Negligence Clause can waive or displace the implied warranties under the American Rule. Thus, the court focused its analysis on whether the insured had shown "due diligence" as required to obtain coverage under the Liner Negligence Clause.

"While recognizing that a Liner Negligence Clause does permit recovery for some losses that would not be available under traditional maritime insurance contracts, such as losses caused by the negligence of the vessel's builder and construction supervisor, the court observed that the clause's expansion of coverage is not unlimited, as was clear from the explicit terms of the policy. Reviewing the facts, the court found that the vessel sank because of a leak through the vessel's stuffing boxes and that such leak was caused by overstuffing of packing material against the propulsion shafts, which wore down the shafts and led to a failure of the compression seal around the shafts.

"As to whether the leak from the stuffing boxes resulted from want of due diligence by the policyholder, the court found that it was "essentially uncontested" that the policyholder failed to maintain the vessel's stuffing boxes and propulsion shafts properly. "Due diligence," the court explained, is judged under an objective standard, "rather than the vessel owner's subjective beliefs regarding acceptable practices." The insurer presented evidence from an expert witness who determined that the vessel's shafts wore down through lack of maintenance, specifically a failure to remove old packing rings when new ones were installed in the packing chamber. The insured argued in contrast that the sinking was caused by a "sudden and unexpected failure of the stuffing boxes," but the court concluded that there was no physical evidence in the record to support this theory. Based on the evidence submitted, the court found that the policyholder failed to exercise due diligence to maintain the vessel's stuffing boxes and that the policyholder was aware of an excessive leak from the stuffing boxes and failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the stuffing boxes were in seaworthy condition. Therefore, because the insurer was able to demonstrate that the loss of the vessel resulted from the want of due diligence of the policyholder, the vessel's sinking was not covered under the Liner Negligence Clause.

"Starnet underscores that coverage determinations are driven by the specific language of the relevant policy. In this case the Liner Negligence Clause can expand coverage beyond what a traditional time hull insurance policy would cover, but the coverage is contingent upon meeting certain additional requirements, such as the due diligence requirement enforced by the court here. In Starnet, the insured's lack of due diligence precluded its ability to recover."


West of England Insurance Services (North America) Inc. | West of England P&I

News of a good friend (click through)-- In case of emergency, Members and Correspondents are encouraged to contact the Claims Team direct whenever possible. A duty officer (by rota) is contactable on mobile phone number +44 7795 116602 to deal with any urgent matters if Members or Correspondents are unable to contact the appropriate Claim... 08/07/2017

The Hijacking of a $100 Million Supertanker

Beyond a bit of cliché and hyperbole, a good read A mysterious assault. An unsolved murder. And a ship that hasn’t given up all its secrets.

[06/30/17]   Content to be back in the office, where the coffee is better than most of what I find on the road.

[06/17/17]   In Santiago, Chile, June 19th-24th. Happy to follow up on any connections, if you have suggestions.

[03/30/17]   Lots going on this year--

April 7 - MICA, NYC
April 24 - Columbia University School of Law - admiralty law course
April 27 - AELA, Madrid, Spain
May 3/5 - MLAUS, New York
May 10/11 - AAA, London, England
June 22 - ALSUM, Santiago, Chile
August 4/6 - MLAUS Board, Long Beach
September 7/8 - CMI, Genoa, Italy
September 17/20 - IUMI, Tokyo, Japan
October 1/3, AMD, Alexandria, VA
October 4/5, AAA USCA, New York
October 16/18, ALSUM, Lima, Peru
October 19/22, MLAUS, Napa, CA

[02/12/17]   I'll be spending this week in Miami, through the evening of Saturday 18th.

See you there?

[11/07/16]   Our land lines are currently down - please call on (917) 696 5467 in the interim.


York-Antwerp Rules seminar | Invitation: York-Antwerp Rules seminar

Planning my next visit to Lonodn - York-Antwerp Rules seminar | Invitation

[10/20/16]   Happy to have attended a very successful ALSUM conference in Panama this week.


Catch you in New Orleans?


Alsum - Congreso 2016

See you in Panama next week?


IMCC - Programme

Great to be back at IMCC. Particular thanks to the organizers for allowing me to contribute to the cyber loss workshop - The website of the International Marine Claims Conference, the yearly gathering of the Marine Insurance Claims people in Dublin 10/13/2016

IUMI 2016 - Genova 18-21 September 2016

A privilege to be part of the IUMI event - Leader nel settore dell'intaglio, restauro e delle costruzioni di mobili e serramenti.


Review of the Rules on General Average - Comite Maritime International | Maritime Law

The York-Antwerp Rules 2016 have come to fruition and can be downloaded at the bottom of the CMI's GA page at,27140,114032,00.html - look for the 'Final Documents' section.

Let me know if you have questions. About CMI. Establishment of national associations of maritime law and co-operation with other international maritime law organizations. 12/29/2015

Maritime ‘Repo Men’: A Last Resort for Stolen Ships

Several acquaintances here - Thousands of boats are stolen each year, and some are recovered using alcohol, prostitutes, witch doctors and other forms of guile. 11/07/2015

Salvage Gets Underway for Bulk Carrier Wrecked in Mexico - gCaptain

Not, technically, salvage, but removal of wreck. Mexican officials are just getting to work on the effort to clean up and scuttle a bulk carrier that wrecked along the country’s rocky Pacific coastline last month during Hurricane Patricia. According the environmental authority PROFEPA, work has begun to prepare the ship for the removal of all 11,4… 10/29/2015

Click here to support Gulf Coastal Pastoral Appeal by Winston Rice

Please consider a donation to a very worthy cause. Maritime Pastoral Institute (MPI) is a faith based charity extending pastoral care to mariners working inland and offshore, and their families, like this young family whose wife and mother recently died while the father was offshore. Things are tough and times are hard along the Gulf Coast, with...


An update on the Reform of the York-Antwerp Rules - Thomas Cooper LLP

Useful update from Ben Browne on YAR 2016 - Marine property insurers are the paymasters of the general average system. Following the promulgation of the York Antwerp Rules (“YAR”) 1994 hull and cargo insurers grew increasingly disenchanted with the YAR... 09/28/2015

Welcome to The Association Mondiale de Dispacheurs » AMD Adjusters | Association Mondiale de...

Humbled by my election at the 2015 General Assembly as president (2015-2017) of the Association Mondiale de Dispacheurs - At the end of the 1950's, three senior Average Adjusters, Dr. Pierre Lureau of Bordeaux, Prof. Henri Schadee of Rotterdam, and Dr. Henri Voet, O.B.E. of Antwerp took the initiative of proposing to fellow average adjusters in other European states the setting up of an international body to promote th…



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