Lawsuit filed over severe damage to $20m-worth of yachts

Taiwanese yacht dealership Alexander Marine has filed a lawsuit in the US federal court, seeking $20m damages from five parties, including a German shipowner, a cargo ship, a US chartering company and boatbuilder Silent Yachts.

The case revolves around a fire aboard a cargo ship in November 2021, during which more than $20m of Ocean Alexander yachts were reportedly destroyed while being transported from Taiwan to Florida.

Alexander Marine, the US dealer for Ocean Alexander yachts, is seeking damages from all parties involved in the stowing and shipment of three of its yachts aboard the 138.5-metre cargo ship BBC Virginia (IMO 95001277), owned and operated by Briese Schiffahrt.

The complaint was filed in the US federal court for the Southern District of Florida on December 12th 2022. It asserts that “based on the damaged condition of the affected yachts, all surveyors agreed that the fire started [in] either hatch number one – or the vessel stowed above it, noting that said vessel was a ‘pile of ashes’ on inspection.”

The fire allegedly started on board a yacht owned by Sempre Italia and Silent-Yachts, which Alexander Marine argues was defective because of an “unproven and untested radical solar powering system.”.

Meanwhile, US yacht-transporting firm Cross Chartering Yacht Transport is accused by Alexander Marine of violating the contract of carriage, after placing three Alexander Marine ships aboard an “unseaworthy” vessel.

Alexander Marine asserts that the fire spread quickly to three Ocean Alexander yachts and destroyed two of them, with the third suffering extensive damage.

The lawsuit states that the three vessels were worth a total of $21m. The case is ongoing.

The 12,657-dwt general cargo ship BBC Virginia was built in 2010. The ship left Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on November 26th 2021, bound for the US. The fire reportedly broke out aboard the cargo deck while the ship was still in the Taiwan Strait, and the vessel returned to Kaohsiung on December 11th after calling into China.

2010-built, Antigua & Barbuda-flagged, 9,618 gt BBC Virginia is owned by Dorenborg GmbH care of manager Briese Schiffahrts & Co KG of Leer, Germany. It is entered with West of England (Eastern Claims Team) on behalf of Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG MS “Dorenborg”. As of January 5th the vessel was en route from Lushun, China, to Masan, South Korea, ETA January 7th.