In Pratt v Aigaion Insurance Co SA – Butterworths Law Direct 14.3.08 the Claimant was the owner of a fishing trawler. He took out a policy of marine insurance with the Defendant through brokers. The policy provided, inter alia, 'Warranted Owner and/or Owner's experienced Skipper on board and in charge at all times and one experienced crew member.' Whilst all fast at North Shields, the vessel caught fire when there was no-one on board. The Defendant declined to pay under the policy, citing the 'at all times' warranty which it maintained had been breached by the fact that no-one was on board the vessel when the fire started. The Claimant issued proceedings.
It was held that on its true construction, the phrase 'at all times' in the context of a requirement for the owner or an experienced skipper to be on board had to be interpreted literally. The claim would be dismissed.
It was said, per curiam, that : This is the third occasion within a few years when this court has considered 'at all times' or similar wording. This suggests that the words, when used on their own without emphasis or explanation, have quite often given rise to misunderstanding with smaller vessels. Since 'at all times' requires, at least in some cases, qualification in the interests of common-sense no underwriter should assume that this wording has somehow received judicial blessing.