“Dear Naci, further to our conversation, please could you contact our client to assist him in arranging to get his vessel fumigated to eradicate some scorpions that have been found on board.” The instruction by the insurers’ claim handler was brief and somewhat frightening. My first thought was “Is there an infant on board?”, as, albeit very rarely, the local scorpions have been known to poison kids to death.
In our career on sea, as a yard manager and also as surveyors we have dealt occasionally with some vermin, including cockroaches and some rather annoying rats – several generations – which had chewed their way through sails in a bag on board, rendering all sails useless (that case had been assessed as insured), but, scorpions as stowaways – that was new. We were lucky as Naci had professional experience in combating pests.
The infested vessel had cruised recently Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt and back. Then she had been left in the water in Marmaris for some four weeks. Thereafter one of the owners, together with his wife and three children, aged three to nine, and another couple with further two children came out for a two weeks’ holiday.
After three days on board they found two scorpions each about 3.5 cm long running about the cabin. These they killed and the two wives and the five children took refuge in a hotel while the two men took the boat back to Marmaris with a view to abandoning their holiday and returning to UK.
At this stage the insurers put them in touch with us. Within half an hour we had arranged for fumigation. After the fumigation five more dead scorpions were collected. The Owner, friends and children were able to resume their holiday and they saw no further evidence of scorpions.
“May I say a big thank you to Naci and yourself for your help with this rather frightening experience.”
The claim handler of the case commented after six years: “I remember this case very well. It was one of the more unusual requests for assistance I had to make over the years in claims. The client was so relieved.”