Wednesday, 1 September 2010

GUIDE: Collision Claims

Collision claims, also known as RDC claims*, involve incidents where two ships have made contact, or in layman's terms when two ships have hit each other. 

Where a collision occurs which is 100% the fault of one vessel, that vessel shall bear its own losses and compensate the other for its losses as a result of the collision. However, because of their very nature collisions almost always involve a degree of fault by each party involved. The general rule is therefore that the total damage is calculated and the % liability of each vessel for causing the collision is calculated and each vessel's owners pay their fair percentage of the total damage.  

Time Limit for Claims
Collision claims are, in most jurisdictions, subject to a two-year time limit, which runs from the date on which the collision occurs. This limit comes from the 1910 Collision Convention, which most countries have ratified.**

Wash Damage
At law claims for 'wash damage' (where the movement of one vessel creates waves in the water which damage other vessels) are generally considered collision claims and dealt with as such by the courts. This is the case even though there is no physical contact between the ships. It is important to note that, despite this, the wording of some P&I and Hull policies will be such that wash damage claims cannot be considered as collisions (if they cover 'contact' with a third party vessel for example).

FFO Claims
When a ship makes contact with property other than another vessel (shore cranes, bridges etc.) and causes damage to it, this is not considered a 'collision'. Technically it is an 'allision' (two moving objects collide with each other, whereas one moving object allides with a fixed object). This term is less common today and these claims are more frequently known as FFO claims, which stands for 'Fixed and Floating Object' claims. Hitting a quay would be an example of damage to a fixed object and cracking a navigational buoy would be an example of damage to a floating object).

* This is the old terms for collisions and stands for 'Running Down Collision', essentially a reference to when one ship ran down, i.e. into, another. 
** Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law with respect to Collisions between Vessels (Brussels, 23 September 1910)


Anonymous 8 August 2012 at 05:27  


I would like to find out the possibility of making a claim directly to the P&I Club of an offending vessel where the offending vessel is 100% to blame for the damage.

One vessel is anchored and gets hits by another sailing vessel (vessel under-way like they say in maritime terms.

kindly advice.


Anonymous 15 January 2013 at 08:04  

This is not possible due to the fact that a P&I CLub is a liabilty insurer operating on a pay to be paid basis.

Navilex 2 October 2014 at 15:13  

Excellent Blog Congrats!

Collision liability is/was traditionally covered 3/4 by hull insurers but sometimes the Club does indeed cover 100% of that risk.
Please also consider the U.K Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930 (the 2010 was not in force yet last time I checked)
or similar laws in the country where the collision occurred as one may have direct recourses against insurers under these laws.

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