Admiralty Judgment summaries

Recent Commercial Court judgments are available online.

m.v. Western Moscow c/w m.t. Wilforce
WILFORCE LLC et al. v RATU SHIPPING CO SA et al. (Sir Nigel Teare)

Collision Claim – collision in a ‘Precautionary Area’ of the Singapore Straits Traffic Separation Scheme between the bulk carrier Western Moscow and the LNG tanker Wilforce – applicability of crossing rule where crossing situation brought about by the faulty navigation of one of the ships – liability and apportionment in respect of the collision in this case

The Admiralty Court considered for the first time a collision claim relating to a collision in a designated ‘precautionary area’. A difficult question arose whether the crossing rule in the Collision Regulations did not apply because Western Moscow (the stand-on vessel under the crossing rule, if it applied) created the crossing situation by bad navigation. It was not necessary to decide that question, as the proper action that Western Moscow should have been taken was the same whether the crossing rule applied or not. She was much more at fault for the collision than Wilforce, but there was fault on both sides. Liability was apportioned 75:25.

The full judgment, [2022] EWHC 1190 (Admlty), is available online.

m.v. MSC Flaminia
Msc Mediterranean Shipping Co S.A. V Stolt Tank Containers B.V. et al. (Andrew Baker J)

Admiralty Limitation Claim – dangerous cargo, explosion and fire – time charterer claiming to limit under Amended 1976 Convention – shipowner defending under Article 4 and/or Article 2 – whether Article 4 defence defeated by issue estoppel from arbitration – whether anti-suit injunction should be granted to restrain shipowner from seeking to enforce arbitration award.

The arbitral award created an issue estoppel sufficient to defeat the Article 4 defence. Anti-suit injunction to restrain enforcement of award refused: the application was premature and contrary to the understanding that the enactment of the Amended 1976 Convention is not intended to dictate to other courts.

The full judgment, [2022] EWHC 835 (Admlty) (external link) can be found on the National Archive.

m.v. Ever Smart c/w m.t. Alexandra I

Collision Claim – crossing rule and narrow channel rule – apportionment of fault reconsidered following Supreme Court decision on the crossing rule, [2022] UKSC 6 – impact on costs of various offers to compromise the question of apportionment

Responsibility for a collision near the entrance channel for Jebel Ali port, between the container ship Ever Smart and the VLCC Alexandra I, was apportioned 70:30, reconsidering the respective faults of the two ships in light of the decision by the Supreme Court that the crossing rule in the Collision Regulations had applied (the original apportionment was 80:20 on the basis that the crossing rule did not apply). Prior to the original trial, Alexandra I had offered to settle at 70:30, then at 60:40. The 60:40 offer was reiterated before the appeal to the Supreme Court and again before the reapportionment hearing, but had not been reiterated between the original trial decision and the decision of the Court of Appeal on the crossing rule. In a separate judgment dealing with consequential matters, the court considered the impact of those offers on the correct order to be made as to costs

The full judgments, [2022] EWHC 206 (Admlty) and [2022] EWHC 830, are available online.