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Gard will not cover cost to raise Bourbon Dolphin


ARENDAL, Norway—Assuranceforeningen Gard will not cover costs to raise the Bourbon Dolphin, a task the protection and indemnity club says is probably not possible and would be insured only if the shipowner is forced by authorities to raise the ship.

Eight crew members died when the Bourbon Dolphin, an anchor-handling and supply vessel, sunk April 12 in about 1,100 metres of water in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Arendal, Norway-based Gard said in a statement that it was advised by London Offshore Consultants Ltd. that it is "extremely uncertain that it is technically possible to raise the ship." Any method to bring it up would be untried and require significant engineering resources because, among other factors, the wreckage is at a depth greater than any vessel has been raised from and is in an area exposed to harsh winds and currents, the statement noted.

Gard said it can only be liable for costs to raise the Bourbon Dolphin if the ship's owner, Paris-based Bourbon S.A., is ordered by authorities with jurisdicition in the area of the sinking to remove the wreckage, a move that would only be taken if the ship posed a danger to navigation or the environment, neither of which appear likely.

Removal of the wreckage will not fall to hull and machinery insurers, Gard concluded."The Bourbon Dolphin is regarded as a total loss, which means that the hull and machinery insurers will have to pay the sum insured, but they are not responsible for taking other measures," the statement read.