Law student in need of help (Q concerning reasonable master)


#1

I was wondering, if anyone could help explain to me what would a reasonable master of a container ship undertake to do in the event of the vessel grounding. Are there specific procedures?
Thanks!


#2

Camelia, this link will give you some background info…There are some unlimited tonnage Captains here that will be able to help you…4.03-2 and 4
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_02/46cfr4_02.html


#3

knowing some of the captains that i have worked with, the first thing they would do is call the coast guard, report the grounding, then mention that the mate was on watch, call the insurance company along with the office and say that the mate was on watch, then dummy up the log book to say that the mate was on watch, then fire the mate and get him off the boat as soon as possible

it is always the mates fault never the captain


#4

[quote=Mr 100-ton;14049]knowing some of the captains that i have worked with, the first thing they would do is call the coast guard, report the grounding, then mention that the mate was on watch, call the insurance company along with the office and say that the mate was on watch, then dummy up the log book to say that the mate was on watch, then fire the mate and get him off the boat as soon as possible

it is always the mates fault never the captain[/quote]

I have a feeling that the capts. I ship with would do the same…A mate has to watch his back doesn’t he??

http://www.maritimeknowhow.com/English/Know-How/Emergency_Procedures/stranding.htm
Camelia,

This page should help too…


#5

[QUOTE=camelia;14046]Hi! I was wondering if anyone in this forum could help me. I’m currently preparing for this maritime law arbitration moot competiton, and the participants have been given a dispute under a time charterparty that we must solve. Well cutting to the chase I was wondering, if anyone could help explain to me what would a reasonable master of a container ship undertake to do in the event of the vessel grounding. Or in other words what are the emergency measures that he should reasonably take? would the immediate jettisoning of containers be a reasonable thing to do? Are there specific procedures?
Thanks![/QUOTE]
A Master would be expected to Stop engines and raise alarm to muster ship’s compliment, Notify Coastguard (Urgency, unless situation was worse, then use MAYDAY), Notify Company and request for Salvors, Initiate damage control procedure, Order onboard investigations, Do not admit any liability in any external communications (stating things like Mate on watch, means ships fault and invariably Master’s), Drop one anchor forward, Do not rush into refloating without assessing damage (and preferrably wait for salvors to arrive). Jettison of containers is easier said than done. Master may not be able to do that at all. Hope it helps. Capt Nadeem Anwar


#6

Dear Camelia- First of all you are to be commended for going the extra mile and actually finding your way to the best mariner site on the internet; then asking the question. Preparation for a moot court and/or mock trial is a fun and exciting time in your law school life. Becoming a lawyer means that whatever case you agree to handle you have to become an expert in the topic at hand. The only way to do that is to seek out and find the best in the business and gCaptain has, from what I have seen, just that. CaptNadeemAnwar seems to have given you the most comprehensive answer from a captain’s perspective and that would probably set your “standard of care”. From my professional opinion, I believe that, absent extreme conditions (one of which which would be called in the law - “Force Majuere”), no grounding ever occurs without the presence of negligence on someone or from the fault of a piece of equipment. Also, in cargo claims, the rights and liabilities of the parties can typically be found in the documents and I urge you to closely inspect the documents that were probably given to you in your competition assignment. Good luck and remember to be ultra respectful to the court and opposing counsel and when you say, “May It Please The Court…” kick their butts!


#7

Regardless of everything else, many, if not most container ships theses days are “gearless” meaning they do not have cranes or other cargo handling gear. As such jettisoning containers would be difficult if not impossible.


#8

Moot court in the summer? Are you just preparing for the fall?

Having participated in admiralty moot courts before, I have feeling you may not be focusing on the most important issue. When nautical knowledge is key, they usually give this to you up front.


#9

[quote=camelia;14046]Hi! I was wondering if anyone in this forum could help me. I’m currently preparing for this maritime law arbitration moot competiton, and the participants have been given a dispute under a time charterparty that we must solve. Well cutting to the chase I was wondering, if anyone could help explain to me what would a reasonable master of a container ship undertake to do in the event of the vessel grounding. Or in other words what are the emergency measures that he should reasonably take? would the immediate jettisoning of containers be a reasonable thing to do? Are there specific procedures?
Thanks![/quote]

Go to http://www.uscg.mil/nmc/marpers/pag/04-02.pdf and take a look at assessments M-7-1A and M-7-2A. Without opening a discussion on the accuracy of these, you can argue that they are the minimum standard of competence for a Master, that the Coast Guard adopted them on recommendation from the Merchant Vessel Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) and that they were developed by a consensus of experienced Masters.

Keep in mind the stability considerations in unplanned jettisoning of cargo, and the fact that generally lighter boxes are on top and heavier ones on the bottom. You’d have to toss a lot of boxes of light stuff before you can get at the heavy ones.


#10

Dear all, thank you so much for the information. They’ve helped me a GREAT deal!
@Capt NadeemAnwar and @Jones Act: Where would one find such emergency procedure guidelines? Is there a specific document (international standard guidelines maybe) containing them? Or is it only provided in the SMS/ISM manuals of the vessel?
@Sean: The moot will take place early next month in australia. Well, this won’t actually be the main argument. However, the reasonableness of the master has been raised in the general average claim. And I must say, having also participate in the same moot the previous year, I’ve found that this year’s moot problem is particularly technical in regards to emergency procedures and navigation of the vessel. Which has led me here to this wonderful forum :slight_smile:


#11

Hi Camelia,
Regret delay in replying as was out of station. Yes, the procedures are contained in the SMS of the company (Ship). Guidelines for Bridge Procedures are published by International Chamber of Shipping, but for emergency; the guidelines are very sparse. However, these are well covered by a number of marine authors. A Master of such a sea-going vessel is required (supposed) to know these. He/She is actually tested on these during their examinations leading up to their certification. During a court case involving Marine Procedures, reliance is generally placed on Company SMS and compliance with the same; with the opposite party trying to discredit the same procedures and complinace through expert witnesses, where ever they can. You may also use an expert witness to strengthen own case to confirm validity of procedures and their compliance. Good luck.