London P&I Club: Regulation Not Enough

Monday, August 04, 2003
The London P&I Club has highlighted the major role that shoreside failings can play in substantial claims, emphasizing that safety requires input from all sides of the shipping industry. In the latest issue of its StopLoss Bulletin, the Club cites the recent case of a Panamax bulk carrier loading in the U.S. which was warping along the berth when a supporting timber dolphin collapsed, together with a 200ft stretch of connecting walkway. Subsequent investigations revealed that the berth - built more than fifty years ago - had been poorly and inappropriately maintained. In particular, underwater deterioration of the dolphin had led to a significant reduction in its load capability, jeopardizing the safety of the entire structure. Investigations into another, similar casualty, in Argentina, revealed that Yokohama fenders on the berth had not been inflated to the correct pressure, and had not been renewed at the end of their recommended lifespan. The owners in each case are pursuing legal action against charterers to recover losses resulting from the casualties, on the basis of charter party provisions concerning berth safety. The Club points out that safety should not focus solely on ships and their operators, and that heavy responsibilities must also rest with those running the facilities at which ships call. "Regulation of ships and their operators alone will not suffice," concludes the Club.
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