“PCC AUTO MOVER”
“CC CONTAINER SHIFTER”
A collision occurred around midnight on 1st January
2006 in the southern Irish sea.
Two vessels in collision viz. PCC “AUTO MOVER”, CC
“CONTAINER SHIFTER” with “WARSPEED FERRY” in nearby vicinity.
Poor weather conditions at time of collision.
No loss of life and negligible pollution.
All vessels equipped with ARPA, AIS, Course
Recorder and Movement Logger.
Neither vessel had Voyage Data Recorder (VDR).
High speed collision.
“AUTO MOVER” severely damaged her starboard side
midship resulting in flooding of some of her lower car decks.
“CONTAINER SHIFTER” sustained severe damage to her
About 13 deck containers lost overboard.
“CONTAINER SHIFTER” stood by until crew of “AUTO
MOVER” rescued and thereafter “CONTAINER SHIFTER” proceeded to nearest
port for repairs.
After “AUTO MOVER” was abandoned she drifted
westward with tugs in attendance.
No damage to “WARSPEED FERRY”.
Collisions can be divided in four categories:-
Collision usually is a result of failure to comply
with Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collision at
Sea-1972 (COLREGs) as amended.
If one vessel solely to blame, she will be
responsible for her ascertained liability, which may be limited
according to statute, but if both vessels to blame, the liability is
divided in most jurisdiction as per degree of blame attached to each
Vessel claiming compensation for loss/damage will
have the burden of proving that the other vessel was negligent.
Steps in Response to Collision
Hull Underwriters to be advised for any liability
arising on the hull policy towards -
-possible collision recovery, and/or
-potential liability for 3/4thof the damage to other vessel.
Average Adjusters to be appointed for preparing
claim on Hull Underwriters, P&I Club and recovery claim from opponent
P&I Club to be informed for potential liability of
1/4th of damages to the other vessel plus other liabilities in full
which are excluded under Hull & Machinery policy.
Lawyers to be appointed as one may overlook the
legal consequence of decisions taken in the aftermath of a major
Lawyers and P&I Club to be consulted regarding the
exchange of adequate security for estimated damage done due to collision
including demurrage, interest and costs. If both vessels are entered
with P&I Club then Clubs may themselves exchange appropriate guarantees.
Assessment of Liability
Investigate closely the circumstances of the
incident, evidence of the crew and witnesses to the incident in order to
assess the loss.
Two major problems on ship collisions are
ascertainment of degree of blame and the prediction of damages that
occurred during the incident.
In major collisions simulation of ship collision is
carried out to assist in assessment of liability.
Where a ship is equipped with Voyage Data Recorder (VDR), data retrieved
from VDR may form a crucial evidence.
Contradictory factual position often leads to
disputes in determining the time of collision, distances, bearings,
speeds, course alterations, etc.
Damage Surveyor’s Role
A damage surveyor to be appointed by each of the
parties representing the vessel to ascertain nature, cause and extent of
Each surveyor will then carry out calculations to
estimate the extent and cost of repairs.
Surveyor will require ship’s plans to assist.
Each of the damage surveyor will usually be also
allowed to carry out a ‘without prejudice’ survey on the other vessel
but not allowed to communicate with any crew member of the other vessel.
After collision a quick assessment is made by the
adjusters on the question of liability, likely claim of both vessels,
quantum of collision security to be procured, limitation funds under
various limitation regimes and prospects of breaking or proving the
right to limitation.
The question of limitation is often the
determinative issue on question of jurisdiction.
To identify and secure favourable jurisdiction that
may include the arrest of a sistership.
One lawyer will be appointed representing each
vessel and other interested parties.
Statements from crew members and officers
witnessing the event are taken by lawyers alongwith other information
such as ship’s records, logbooks, ship’s plans etc.
Negotiations with opponent vessel’s solicitors on
degree of blame, quantum of security/ liability, settlement amount,
interest, costs, etc.
To establish degree of fault based on assessment of
true collision time and position of colliding vessels
Speed & Angle of Blow Analysis Surveyor
To appoint a speed and angle of blow surveyor in
event of disagreement on the degree of blame.
Angle of blow surveyor carries out independent
analysis of both vessels and gives opinion on the speed and angle of
Angle of blow surveyor measures various angle and
depth of penetration in relation to frame numbers with the help of
various ship’s plans.
Scale plan drawings of each vessel are drawn then
fitted together to show the approximate positions of the two vessels at
the time of impact in order to give relative angles between the two
This analysis enables to determine collision angle
at the moment of maximum penetration.
These surveyors are also allowed to carry out
‘without prejudice’ survey on the other vessel, but not allowed to
communicate with crew on either vessel.
approximate positions, speed and angle of two vessels at the
time of impact.
|Bow of a
In collision cases before
commencing legal proceedings, it is desirable to ensure that service of
suit will be accepted in the country where a maritime lien will be
enforced and this is often done by obtaining security from those
representing the allegedly negligent party.
The negligent vessel’s P&I
Club and Hull & Machinery Underwriters generally provide the required
Where security is denied there may be a need to ‘arrest the vessel’ by
issue of a writ in the relevant court and service on the allegedly
Under the Maritime
Convention Act, 1911 action to enforce a lien in respect of a collision
should commence within two years from the date of the collision.
Limitation of Liability
Law in most countries
permits a ship owner to limit his liability for damage arising out of
collision provided the collision occurs without his privity or
Limitation is based on the
registered tonnage of the ship claiming limitation and is expressed in
‘gold francs’, nominal monetary units which can be used to establish
The four main limitation
regimes can be categorized as -
-Protocol of 1996,
-based on damaged
value of ship and freight as under U.S. law.
In some countries where the
1996 Protocol is ratified the limits as set out in the 1976 Convention
are substantially increased.
Insurance on Collision
The Running Down Clause or
3/4th Collision Liability Clause in a Standard Hull Insurance Policy is
a supplementary contract.
It covers certain
liabilities arising from collision in addition to the basic cover for
loss or damage to the insured vessel caused by collision.
The amount recoverable under
the clause is restricted to 3/4ths of the liability which is further
limited to 3/4th of sum insured.
Hull cover also responds to
3/4th of the legal costs i.e. cost of defence and/or cost of contesting
Where both vessels are to be
blamed and unless the liability of one or both vessel become limited by
law, the indemnity under Collision Clause shall be calculated on the
principle of cross liability basis.