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A marine certificate is a short form of policy and is issued to cover a particular shipment. This document is usually necessary in handling with banks or other financial institutions.

In cases of open shipments where there are no drafts or “letters of credit” covering the transaction, certificates are not necessary; only a report to the insurance company being required.


Unless the assured is thoroughly familiar with marine insurance, it should be placed through an insurance broker. There are many expertly informed brokers making a specialty of marine insurance who arrange for shippers the best possible contract for their particular line with the various insurance companies. A reliable insurance broker is always in position to obtain the broadest cover at the lowest rates. It is the practice of these brokers to collect any losses sustained. All of this professional service is without cost to the assured.

In the marine insurance field two general terms are used, viz., “General Average" and "Particular Average.” The former denotes a loss, damage or expense that is incurred for the general benefit of vessel, her freight money and cargo, and the latter, a loss or damage accidentally sustained.

A "General Average" is defined as follows:

A loss which arises in consequence of a voluntary and successful sacrifice, under extraordinary circumstances, of part of the property included in a common maritime adventure, solely for the benefit of the adventure as a whole, at a time of peril threatening physical injury to the whole, or through reasonable extraordinary expenditure for the common benefit of the whole adventure, occasioned by a voluntary act. (Congdon on General Average.)


A Particular Average is not a loss or damage voluntarily incurred for the common benefit of vessel, freight and cargo, but is one accidentally sustained. In the case of a Particular Average the owner of the damaged vessel or cargo, as the case may be, is required to bear such loss or damage and cannot, as in the case of a General Average, expect contributions from other interests.

Marine Insurance on vessels and cargoes invariably covers General Average losses and expenses, but, in regard to Particular Average losses or damages, the question as to whether the insurance protects depends entirely upon the terms of the insurance certificate.

The following examples will show clearly the difference between a General Average loss and a Particular Average loss:

A vessel and her cargo may be in danger of foundering, and to avoid loss a portion of the cargo is jettisoned, whereby the vessel is enabled to right herself and to proceed to her destination with the remainder of the cargo. The loss of the cargo which was jettisoned for the common benefit is a General Average loss for which the vessel, her freight money and the cargo (including the amount allowed for the jettison) pay for in proportion to their values. For example:

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(2) If a vessel during a voyage meets with very heavy weather and in conERAGE

sequence part of her cargo is swept overboard from the deck by the seas and part is damaged below deck by sea-water finding its way through the hatches or otherwise, the loss of and damage to the cargo is Particular Average and falls on its owner, who, in turn, collects under the Marine Insurance Certificate if, by its terms, the underwriter is liable.

Other cases of a General Average nature are:

A vessel because of damage sustained puts into a port of refuge for repairs.

To prevent a vessel with her cargo from foundering in a gale, one or more of her masts or some of her sails are cut away and lost.

To extinguish fire on board a vessel, water is pumped into her holds whereby the fire is extinguished, her cargo sustaining damage by the water.

A vessel so damaged at sea that another is employed to save her and the cargo.

A steamer strands and sustains damage in working her engines in efforts to refloat her.

It will be seen that a General Average differs from a Particular Average in that the former results from a voluntary act and the latter from an accidental one.


As insurance companies are in a position to supply whatever protection is required by owners, knowledge of some of the clauses” of the Insurance Certificates is essential and are quoted below:

(1) This certificate is subject to the full terms of the policy BUT
warranted by the assured free from loss or expense arising from capture,
seizure, detention or destruction, restraint, or the consequence of any
attempt thereat, whether lawful or unlawful or whether by the act of
any belligerent nations or by governments of seceding or revolting
states, or by unauthorized or lawless persons therein, or otherwise, and
whether occurring in a port of distress, or otherwise, anything in this
policy to the contrary notwithstanding, and free from all other con-
sequences of hostilities whether before or after declaration of war.


Held covered at a premium to be arranged in case of deviation or change of voyage or if any error or unintentional omission in the description of the interests, vessel or voyage, provided same to be communicated to the assurers, as soon as known to the assured.

Held covered on board craft and/or lighter to and from the vessel. Each craft and/or lighter to be deemed a separate insurance.



In case of loss apply to



(2) Attaching from time goods leave the warehouse of the shipper in due course of shipment, while at risk of assured and covering continuously until same are safely delivered at warehouse or store of consignee at point of final destination but only at and between the places as reported to this Company.

(3) Attaching from time goods leave the warehouse of the shipper in the ordinary course of transit, while at the risk of the assured, and covering continuously until same are safely delivered at warehouse or store at destination, but only at and between the places as stated hereon. BUT FOR NOT EXCEEDING FOURTEEN (14) DAYS

SHORE RISK. (4) Free of Average under three (3) per cent. unless general, or the vessel be stranded, sunk, burnt, on fire or in collision with any substance (ice included) other than water, each package separately insured.

It is admitted that the risks of explosions howsoever and wheresoever occuring, are covered hereby, and underwriters agree to pay loss or damage arising therefrom even though the insurance be otherwise, F. P. A., etc.

(6) When by terms expressed on this certificate, this insurance undertakes to cover risk of inland transportation and/or risk on shore and/or on land, then in such cases it is understood that inland transportation is by railroad only (unless otherwise stated hereon), and that this insurance covers only loss or damage arising from fire, collision or derailment while on railroad cars, and by fire or flood (meaning rising navigable waters) when on dock, wharf, pier, quay or elsewhere on shore.

Goods, etc., insured hereinunder, are understood to be under deck (i. e., below main deck or within a structure built in the frame of the vessel) unless otherwise expressly stated hereon.

Breakage of machinery, castings or fragile goods or leakage of liquids (except when caused by stranding, sinking, burning or collision), is not insured, unless stated otherwise hereon in writing.


(CARGO CLAUSES F. P. A.) (1) General Average and Salvage Charges payable according to Foreign Statement or per York-Antwerp Rules if in accordance with the contract of affreightment.



(2) Held covered, at a premium to be arranged, in case of deviation or change of voyage or of any error or unintentional omission in the description of the interest, vessel, or voyage provided same be communicated to the assurers as soon as known to the assured.


(3) Held covered on board craft and /or lighter to or from the vessel. Each craft and /or lighter to be deemed a separate insurance.


(4) Including liberties as per contract of affreightment. The presence of the negligence clause and /or latent defect clause in the Bills of Lading and /or Charter Party and /or Contract of Affreightment shall not prejudice this insurance. The seaworthiness of the vessel as between the assured and assurers is hereby admitted.


(5) Warranted free from Particular Average unless the vessel or craft be stranded, sunk or burnt, but the assurers are to pay the insured value of any package or packages which may be totally lost in loading, transshipment or discharge, also any loss of or damage to the interest insured which may reasonably be attributed to fire, collision or contact of the vessel and/or craft and /or conveyance with any external substance (ice included) other than water, or to discharge of cargo at port of distress, also to pay landing, warehousing, forwarding, and special charges if incurred.

(6) While on railroad, free of claim for loss or damage unless caused by fire, collision or derailment.

(7) Including risk on dock while awaiting shipment and after discharge until warehoused.

(8) Held covered in event of deviation, provided the same be communicated to the assurers as soon as known to the assured, and an additional premium paid if required.


To pay particular average and/or leakage (howsoever arising) if amounting to three (3%) per cent. after deducting one (1%) per cent. for ordinary leakage; each barrel, drum or package separately insured.


The greatest complication of Marine Insurance is that pertaining to General and Particular Averages and it is suggested that one could gain additional knowledge on this branch of Insurance by studying Ernest W. Congdon's volume on "General Averages."


See page 517 for form of Certificate of Marine Insurance, and page 518 for form of Open Policy of Marine Insurance.




Domestic shippers of the United States are familiar with the measurements employed on domestic shipments, such as inch, yard, gallon; and weights, such as pounds, ton, etc.; however, in shipping to foreign countries the custom of the importing country is to be followed. A review of the practices indicate that the Metric System of Weights and Measures is applied to many important countries with the exception of the following : British Empire, Far East, and the United States. In view of this it is quite apparent that the Manufacturer or Exporter and Importer engaged in foreign commerce should have knowledge of the Metric System.

The Metric System may appear to the layman as very difficult to understand,

but a careful study of the terms and phrases together with the making of a comTERMS AND U. s. parison with the domestic system will enable one readily to understand this sysEQUIVALENTS

tem. The terms as used in the Metric System and their equivalents for the measurements used in the United States for area, capacity, length, weight or mass and volume are here shown:

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It will be noted from the comparisons above shown that the Metric System has first in it the unit of the Meter which is a unit of length, and derived from this is the unit of mass which is represented by the Gram, and the unit of capacity represented by the Liter. The fraction or the multiplication of more than one unit is expressed by using a Latin and Greek prefix.

The Latin prefixes namely, milli, centi, and deci, are used when it is desired to indicate a fraction or a division of a unit, while the Greek prefixes deka, hecto, and kilo are used to designate an amount when the unit is to be multiplied, representing more than one unit. To illustrate this the following table is offered:



Meter, for Length

Gram, for Mass

Liter, for Capacity



Part of Unit


Equals one-thousandth.
Equals one-hundredth.
Equals one-tenth

Figures 1/1000 or 0.001 1/100 or .01 1/10

or .1

Greater than one Unit


Equals ten units..
Equals one hundred units.
Equals one thousand units...

10/1 or 10 100/1 or 100 1000/1 or 1000

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