All Three Ships at Fault, Court Finds

Thursday, July 12, 2007
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the trial court’s finding that one ship was solely at fault in a collision and remanded the case to the trial court to apportion the fault, directing the trial court “to consider the relative culpability of each vessel and the relative extent to which the culpability of each caused the collision.” In the instant case, two ships collided in the English Channel and another ship was involved in the incident, although not in the physical contact. The trial court determined that one of the three ships was so largely at fault that the court assigned full liability to it for damages arising from the collision. On appeal, the court held that all three ships had been negligent to some extent. The Second Circuit upheld the trial court’s determination that the Pennsylvania Rule, which places a heavy burden on any vessel that violates a statute, would not apply if the 1910 Collision Convention applies. Otal Investments Ltd. v. M.V. Clary, No. 06-0591 (2nd Cir., July 6, 2007). (Source: HK Law)

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