FREDRIKSTAD (VG) Henrik Sørensen’s shrimp trawler caught fire and sank in November 2021. He won’t be covered because the companies believe he caused the fire.
On a foggy November day a year and a half ago, the shrimper Sorensen was sailing out of the Oslo Fjord with the trawler “Tees”. He says that then there was smoke coming from the engine room.
– I did not dare to take one of the three fire extinguishers below deck, because the fire broke out, says Sorensen, who was alone on board.
While trying to put out the fire with a sprinkler pump, he called the beach radio for help. The fire alarm system is not turned off.
After several hours of continuous extinguishing work by the rescue company, the trawler sank in the moss outside Fuglevik. Sorensen was rescued by another boat, and a helicopter took him to a hospital in Dansberg, where he was treated for smoke inhalation.
Fishermen and insurance companies now disagree about what happened before the shrimp barge sank.
– Have you tried to cheat insurance companies in any way?
– No, I haven’t. I was truthful with all information and had nothing to hide. I didn’t set the boat on fire, Sorenson tells VG.
No insurance money available
“Dies” was insured for NOK 2.9 million, the same as Sørensen had paid. But after raising the boat and inspecting it in Krajerow, the companies Havtrygd and Gjensdige refuse to pay.
At the heart of the controversy is a large gas cylinder used to cook shrimp:
- According to the insurance company’s own report, before the fire, the gas cylinder is often kept in the cabin through the toilet door.
- Sorensen rejects that. He says it was on the deck as it used to be, and believes it went into the cabin in connection with an accident or the boat being raised later.
The insurance companies are seeking $1.6 million in costs from Sorenson in connection with the case. Sørensen therefore took legal action against co-insurers Havtrygd and Gjensdige. The case will be heard in the district court on September 25.
Quiet Insurance Company
Insurance companies won’t say anything before the hearing. VG therefore obtained information from the documents in the case to clarify the view of the insurance companies.
– Havtrygd mentions that he caused the fire in the Tees boat himself with the help of a gas cylinder placed inside the boat, Havtrygd writes in his rebuttal.
Sorensen reacts to being denied by an insurance company four months ago After That the boat was destroyed.
– Before they can say I did this, they cut the boat. It’s a great way to ruin my chances ContradictionContradictionThe contradiction states a fundamental principle in civil procedure that a court will not decide a case without the party having an opportunity to present the case of the other party. Source: Great Norwegian Lexicon And that’s a strange way to operate if you want to preserve evidence, Sørensen says.
Havtrygd made the decision to cut the boat after negotiations with Gjensidige.
– The boat was scrapped before it was made clear to the company(ies) that there was a basis for the accusation of fraud, Gjensdige Søndre writes in his petition to the Østfold District Court.
– We do not want to go into the details of the ongoing case, but we will present our view of the case in the upcoming court case in September, Pål Rune Eklo, communications manager at Gjensidige, writes in an SMS to VG. He also speaks on behalf of Haudricht.
Where is the gas bottle?
Sorensen now works freelance at TV2, which was also his workplace before realizing his dream of becoming a shrimp fisherman in 2018. He pointed out that while the cabin was completely charred, the gas bottle – from the middle down – had red paint intact.
– Damage to the gas bottle during the fire is not consistent with it being there, says Sorensen.
Insurance companies, who believe there are many violations of the regulations, disagree.
– After the overall assessment, the gas bottle is placed in the cabin through the door of the toilet before the fire. Havtrygd/Gjensidge’s own report states that the fire damage corresponds to the release of flammable gas from a gas bottle.
Sorensen pointed out that the 59 kg gas bottle was so heavy that he used a crane to carry it, and says it was never below deck.
Wesmans, who examined the boat after raising it, writes as follows in his report on fire safety on board (bold text):
Sorensen believes a hole was burned in the forward section due to the extreme heat, as the other side of the boat was turned off due to an explosion hazard. This is how it happened It is The side cooled, but not the side where a hole appeared.
Wesmans also writes: “The boat was completely engulfed in flames, starting in the engine/hold and spreading to the interior and bridge.”
The inspection report says: “During Teis’ inspection at Kragerø, it was not possible to determine where the fire started, and the boat was completely burnt.”
A Swedish fire expert hired by Sorensen could not determine where the fire started. “But nothing has come to light to contradict the owner’s information that smoke was first seen coming from the engine compartment and that the fire may have started there,” he writes.
Sorensen believes there were two fires on the ship and refers to the photographs.
– One From the cabin and One Propane sprays standing by from bottles on deck. Two bottles floated up, and the third in the boat, he says.
Police did not investigate the wreckage
The police, who had not investigated the wreck before the “tease” was cut, dropped a report against Sorenson for aggravated insurance fraud. They also dismissed Sorenson’s complaint against Gjensidge for cutting into the shrimp trawler.
– Raised by the yacht insurance company, and investigations carried out at the initiative of the company. Geir Willadsen, head of investigations at the police in Fredrikstad, tells VG that the police have not carried out forensic examinations of the boat.
If he wins his court case in September, Sorensen is not sure if he will buy a new trawler and continue as a shrimper.
– The fire gave me a real shock. I’m still splattered and I think I might get on the boat.
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