Thursday 1 December 2011

A Brief Guide to Tugs and Towing

Tugboats are small but very powerful vessels which were developed to specifically assist other vessels (by pushing or towing them from a to b, moving them around in canals or harbours, fire fighting etc.). 

Today they are more advanced than ever and can perform a multitude of tasks but the basic construction of a simple harbour tug remains broadly as the following diagram. You will notice a towage rope for assisting other vessels and heavy 360o fendering (the tyres)

- A tug is always a boat, and not a ship. The craft began their lives as relatively small vessels and so will forever be categorized as such, even though today many are very large vessels.
- A tug tows other vessels using a towage or towing line (when a piece of rope is used) or a wire (when some form of metal rope is used).


General Harbour Tugs - The most common form, they perform a multitude of general assistance tasks around ports and harbours. Generally small and do not venture far from the harbour or port limits.

SDMs (Ship Docking Modules) - These are very specialised little tugs used to help moor other small vessels, normally yachts, in tight marinas. Because they need to be so versatile and gentle with their charge they look a little bit like padded floating saucers.

Ocean-Going Tugs - These are much larger tugs used to tow vessels over a long journey in potentially hazardous seas.

AHTS (Anchor Handling Towage Supply) Tugs - These vessels provide support for offshore structures in the energy industries, both old and new. They are specially built to be able to raise huge anchors belonging to offshore rigs, tow vessels and platforms where necessary and carry supplies out to them.


For a look at the principal contracts involved in Towage work see this article

Saturday 22 October 2011

Laytime & Demurrage: A Back-to-Basics Guide

One of the more mysterious elements of shipping law, at least to the uninitiated, are the issues of laytime and demurrage. I thought, for this reason, that it might be useful to do a 'bare bones' guide to the area. As with other areas identified many people use the terminology incorrectly so don't get confused by people saying apparently contradictory things. 

This area of shipping law deals with the general principle that if you charter (hire) a ship to move cargo from A to B at a set price (i.e. a voyage charter), then you should pay the ship compensation if it gets held up whilst loading or discharging the cargo you wanted to move, i.e. if you delay in getting your goods to the port and the ship's journey takes 2 days longer as a result, you should compensate the ship for those 2 days lost. Here is the framework that has developed, in simple terms. 

Ships are not like trains and cannot confirm absolute timetables for being in place A to B, especially when they are 'tramping' (just going where ordered next and not between set ports). So, when you enter a charterparty to hire a ship to move your goods the ship is given Laydays, being the period of days in which the ship can arrive to load your goods. After this point comes the Cancelling Date; if the ship is not there by this date the charterer may cancel the contract, basically because the ship is so late they either no longer wish to move the goods or wish to use another ship. This period is sometimes referred to altogether as the Laycan (Laydays + Cancelling).

When the ship arrives to load or discharge it tenders a Notice of Readiness (NOR) to the charterer, stating that they are ready to load / discharge. After a period of time (normally 6 hours) of giving notification it is considered reasonable for the charterers to have been able to start loading, so Layitme starts to run. Laytime is a period of time set out in the charterparty which gives the charterer an allowance for time to load (often 36 hours, but depends on trade and means of loading - oil tankers load faster than bulk cargo for instance). Once the charterers used up their laytime allowance time switches to Demurrage. Demurrage is a rate of compensation per day (or pro rata per hour) that they must pay to the shipowner for holding up the ship for longer than agreed. 

If the ship is held up for reasons for which the charterer is responsible but outside the running of laytime / demurrage then the shipowner can sue the charterer for Detention. Usually the compensation awarded for detaining the ship is the same as the demurrage rate, because the parties have already agreed a convenient compensation calculation for using the ship's time outside the contract so it is easy for the courts to apply this rate. 

Tuesday 18 October 2011

South of England P&I Club

At the weekend we received news that it appeared the South of England P&I Club had ceased trading. The South of England is / was a commercial (rather than mutual) protection and indemnity (third party liability) insurer and covered a range of interesting bulk carriers and tankers, among other vessels.

The International Group of mutual P&I clubs had a North of England and a West of England club, so perhaps the creator of the South of England felt that merely choosing another point on the compass would give the Club gravitas on the international P&I scene, but alas it appears that it was not to be as we hear that the liquidators have been called in. 

We received first notification in writing via the Maritime Advocate circular: 'It is at the Clyde & Co Party at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall that we hear, courtesy of the Senior Partner’s welcome speech that the South of England P&I Club has appointed provisional liquidators in Bermuda and has ceased trading. So we bid farewell to another have-a-go P&I operation, set up outside the International Group Agreement; it joins a list comprising the Oceanus, Sphere Drake, Dragon, OMM and Pacindat to name but a few. It only goes to show that the market outside the IGA is demanding and only the very long term players in the fixed market can really cope. The short span of attention, which invests your very average insurance operation simply will not sustain a business with low general underwriting profitability, accomplished claims handling and a claims tail of 30 years or more.'

That seemed relatively final and was confirmed in a later article in Insurance Day, but it clarified that the liquidators were actually called in by the company's auditors, KPMG. Later in the day we could see in Lloyds List that the Club was actually promising to fight the appointment of liquidators in Bermuda and intended to keep trading. However, looking at the news from the Club throughout the year it does appear that the writing is on the wall for the venture. If or when it does cease trading it will join a long list of commercial P&I ventures which have failed to maintain a long-term presence in the market.

The South of England started trading in 2004 and was registered in Bermuda, but appears to have been managed from Zurich, with most of the day-to-day claims management and some other services taking place in the Club's UK base in Brighton.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

The "Rena" Grounding in New Zealand - What Limit Applies?

The "Rena" ran aground on a reef off the North Island in New Zealand on 5 October 2011. It is predicted to be the worst maritime disasters in New Zealand's history. Questions quickly began as to what the total cost would be and whether the shipowner (MSC is reported to have had the container vessel on a 5 year hire agreement) would be able to limit. I have heard a lot of speculation about what the result will be but in my opinion the vessel will be able to limit its liability to around USD 9.5 Million (considering that no direct fault of owners or charterers is alleged and proven).

There are 4 main conventions which apply to limitations for release of oil. The difference is extremely confusing but hopefully the following provides a brief 'idiot's' guide.

1. The CLC Convention - This would normally be the first port of call for an oil pollution claim. However, it only covers persistant oil - i.e. heavy oil carried as cargo by oil tankers. It will not therefore apply.

2. The 1992 Fund Convention - In the same way as above this would not apply.

3. The Bunker Pollution Convention - This convention was brought in specifically to deal with the effect of large oil spillages from commercial vessels due to them spilling their own fuel (bunkers), rather than a cargo of fuel they were carrying. The New Zealand government has supported its implementation recognising that in the last ten years the worst oil pollution incidents in NZ waters have been bunker spills, however, to my knowledge they have not yet ratified or acceded to the convention. It therefore has no effect.

4. The LLMC 1976 - This is the convention that will probably therefore apply by default, as implemented into NZ law in the Maritime Transport Act 1994 . It is very broad brush and does not even specifically mention oil but the limit for claims which do not involve injuries to people or passengers are as follows:
(a) in the case of a ship of not more than 300 gross tons, 83 333 units of account:

  • (b)     in the case of a ship of more than 300 gross tons, but not more than 500 gross tons, 167 000 units of account:
  • (c) in the case of a ship of more than 500 gross tons, 167 000 units of account* plus a further number of units of account calculated as follows:
    • (i) for each gross ton of the ship from 501 to 30 000 tons, 167 units of account; and
    • (ii) for each gross ton of the ship from 30 001 to 70 000 tons, 125 units of account; and
    • (iii) for each gross ton of the ship in excess of 70 000 tons, 83 units of account.

Therefore the limit can be calculated as follows:
a. 167,000 SDR (for the first 500 GT)
b. 29,500 x 167 SDR = 4,926,500 SDR (for 501 to 30,000 GT)
c. 7,209 x 125 SDR = 901,125 SDR (for 30,001 to 37,209 GT - the GT of the "Rena")
Total = 5,994,625 SDR (or) approx. 9,500,000 US Dollars at today's rate of exchange.

* A 'Unit of Account' means a Special Drawing Right - see this article for an explanation of what this is. 

Sunday 2 October 2011

What is the Difference Between a Port, Quay, Pier and Wharf?

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are differences between each which it is useful to remember.

A Port is generally a description of a place on the coast which has facilities for boats or ships to call into, and usually a village or town attached. Normally these places developed because the natural features at that particular part of the coastline (a break in the high cliffs, an area of deepwater where the coast is rocky etc.). Because a port is a description of a type of function, ports can look very different from one another and a port may contain all of the things listed below (wharfs, quays, piers etc.). Porto Cervo, in Italy, is a good example.

A Wharf is a man-made structure on a river or by the sea, which provides an area for ships to safely dock. Some are very intricate, with multiple types of berth over a large area, and navigable channels, and others (like this one, below, from Australia) are more straightforward. A Wharf can contain quays and piers and will normally have buildings within it to service the ships (often warehouses and offices). Because of their abundance of unusual buildings and ready-made water features, unused wharfs are often converted into expensive retail and housing areas (for instance Canary Wharf and Butler's Wharf in London).

A Quay is, technically, a part of the river bank or coastline which has been modified so ships can dock at it parallel to the shore. This boat is moored at the quay in Poole, England. 

A Pier is a, normally wooden, structure which protrudes from the shore at a level above the water level, allowing ships to disembark passengers in the deeper water further out. The length of the pier may also provide berths for smaller boats.

Monday 26 September 2011

Common Bulk Cargoes

When a layperson glances at a modern Bill of Lading from a bulk carrier they often ask what cargo is being carried. This is because in order to avoid claims or delivery disputes, the Bills are very specific about exactly what is being carried, rather than using an understandable description. Here is a short guide, which like all our articles we will expand on over time, to the real-world meanings of common cargoes listed as being carried.


FAME - Fatty Acid Methyl Esther - These are basically fatty acids (types of energy-rich acid taken from animal fats, vegetable oils), mixed with a pure alcohol (methanol) so they can be stored in a concentrated liquid form. They can readily be stored and transported and the ship's tanks can be relatively easily be cleaned after discharge. The exact quality and type is very important as the type of use and value can vary greatly. Some FAME cargoes may be used at destination for creating food products, face creams or tablets; it would be very important that such a cargo was not contaminated. But equally you could have a shipment of FAME which was old grease and oils collected from restaurants, and other sources, being transported for use as biodiesel (natural diesel) - this would be less valuable. FAME is a very common cargo in modern shipping because of its wide array of applications.

Swarf - metal scraps - This is one of those old words which has stuck in industrial use for want of a better replacement. Swarf used to refer to little bits of metal which fell on the floor whilst you were cutting or working with metal. They used to be of concern primarily as a safety hazard, because even a very thin slice of scrap metal lying on a floor or bench can be a real danger but today with the market price of all metals soaring they are better known as bulk shipments where scrap metal of all kinds is mixed together for shipment to scrapyards for melting down. Sometimes a shipment will just literally be a load of mixed scraps of all kinds (shavings, taps, pipes, cable) and sometimes it will be solid compressed blocks of such scrap. Sometimes you will see basic sorting processes having taken place, lke a designation 'Swarf - 25 MT honey'. This is a reference to scrap of a yellow and gold colour which has been piled together for melting down, as opposed to another lot of scrap madeup of grey metals.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Q: What is a Special Drawing Right?

Anyone looking at conventions involving international maritime law will soon come across the SDR or Special Drawing Right. It is used mainly in the calculation of limitations. An SDR is a creation of the IMF and is essentially like an international currency which cannot be spent. 

It's strength lies in the fact that it's value is decided by the IMF based on a 'basket of currencies' (the Dollar, Pound, Euro and Yen), so it avoids the fluctuations of a single currency when a country announces bad employment data, or a bailout etc. 

The most common concern is what one is worth (the answer is about one Euro - normally). The specific information is available directly on the IMF website, but a much easier way is to just use a conversion site like XE. The international 3 digit currency code for the SDR is actually XDR, so just scroll to the bottom of the extended currency list and choose convert XDR into whatever currency you like. 

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Article: The Growing Business of Armed Guards on International Ships (to Counter Piracy)

We often wonder, when reading of news stories involving piracy, who are the people at the forefront of dealing with this problem day to day. I mean if you mention any of the places we commonly associate with piracy to a 'normal' marine professional / surveyor they would baulk at the offer of a trip there or a project involving sorting something out there. 

However, one company that springs to mind is Gray Page. They specialise in maritime investigations, crisis management and providing plans and intelligence in handling such situations. Check out their website for further information (linked above).

One of the issues they are presently warning about is the fact that there is an increasing need to vet companies offering armed guard (private security services) services to vessels. This is a burgeoning market at the moment and it appears that some think that a cautious approach needs to be taken to those rushing to enter the market.  

Gray Page advised that the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee’s (MSC) recently approved interim guidance on the employment of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) to combat piracy underlines the requirement for independent vetting of private armed maritime security providers (AMSP).

The MSC guidance, issued in May, incorporates recommendations for flag States confirming that it is the responsibility of individual flag States whether to ordain the carriage of security personnel and their firearms on board ships sailing under their flags. Further interim guidance, for shipowners, ship operators and shipmasters, seeks to address the difficulties faced in selecting an appropriate provider of armed security services.

James Wilkes, managing director, Gray Page, commented: “The IMO should be commended for setting these guidelines focused, as they are, on ensuring that the provision on board of armed maritime security teams is managed safely and lawfully.”

“For a shipowner, employing the services of an armed maritime security provider is an exceptionally serious proposition, as the logical consequence of putting men with arms on board a ship is, fundamentally, to sanction the potential use of lethal force to defend the crew and vessel (albeit in extreme and proscribed circumstances). Any decision of such importance should be supported by comprehensive and objective due diligence.”

Gray Page has launched an ‘Armed Maritime Security Provider’ Vetting Programme to provide shipowners with a reliable and independent means of vetting prospective providers of armed maritime security services. The programme helps shipowners objectively and comprehensively evaluate prospective providers against professional, legal and ethics-based criteria encompassing corporate probity, financial substance, regulatory and legislative compliance, commercial experience, contractual integrity, operational and logistical capability, weapons licensing and accountability, and the selection, recruitment and training of security personnel.

About one in ten vessels off the Somali coast already carry armed guards. The IMO claims there were 489 reports of piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2010 - up more than 20% on 2009. So far this year more than 200 cases have been reported.

Update October 2011 - We are told that the North of England P&I Club (a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs) has partnered with Gray Page to provide armed guard vetting services to all its members. 

Contributor Article: 10 Extraordinary Modern Shipwrecks

This article was contributed by a reader of the Shipping Law Blog, Jennifer Lynch from the E-Advisor Blog, which contains some fascinating factual articles on science and the modern world. 

Shipwrecks aren't really considered a modern problem. Air transportation, which is obviously much more efficient, supplanted ocean liners decades ago, causing the romanticism that came with setting out on long overseas journeys to fade. Even still, ships remain a large part of worldwide commerce and transportation, the latter of which is more common in poor countries, where unfortunate accidents are more frequent. The following shipwrecks range from small-scale tragedies to unforgettable catastrophes, capturing headlines worldwide when they occurred.

  1. USCGC WHITE ALDER (1968):

    Longtime residents of New Orleans still discuss the plight of the White Alder, a former Navy YF-257-class lighter assigned to tend river aids-to-navigation and various other Coast Guard duties. The ship met its demise in the early evening of December, when it collided with a 455-foot Taiwanese freighter in the Mississippi River near White Castle, Louisiana, killing 17 of the 20 crew members. Just three of the dead were recovered due to the thick river sediment that quickly buried the cutter. More than 40 years later, 14 crewmen remain at the bottom of the Mississippi.

    Perhaps America's most famous modern shipwreck, theEdmund Fitzgerald is still a fresh wound for the families of the 29 crew members who perished that night. When it was launched, it was the biggest ship on the Great Lakes, and its large hauls made it extremely valuable during its 17-year run. En route to a steel mill near Detroit from Superior, Wisconsin, the freighter encountered a winter storm with hurricane-force winds that created 35-foot waves. With a bad list, broken radars and water engulfing the deck, it sank 17 miles from Whitefish Bay. No distress signals were sent out, and Captain Ernest McSorley, who planned to retire at the end of shipping season, last reported "We are holding our own."
  3. RAINBOW WARRIOR (1985):

    A former UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food trawler, the Rainbow Warrior was operated by Greenpeace to curtail whaling, seal hunting and nuclear testing, most notably evacuating 300 Marshall Islanders from Rongelap Atoll, a former US nuclear testing area. Docked in a harbor in New Zealand, it suffered two large, crippling explosions that sent it under water — photographer Fernando Pereira was killed when he returned to the ship to collect his equipment as the second explosion occurred. Two French secret service agents were arrested, and the nation denied involvement until a British newspaper revealed French President Francois Mitterrand authorized the plan. The scandal resulted in several high-profile resignations in the French government.

    During the early stages of its trip across the English Channel from Dover, South East England to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, the Herald of Free Enterprise began taking on water, listing and then capsizing in just 90 seconds. The sudden turn of events ended with the deaths of 193 people, many of whom were overcome by hypothermia in the 3-degree Celsius waters. One man disappeared after he made himself into a human bridge to save his wife, daughter, and other passengers. Failure to close the bow doors resulted in the worst peacetime maritime disaster for a British-registered ship since the Titanic disaster 75 years earlier.
  5. MV DONA PAZ (1987):

    Never before has there been a worse ferry disaster. The Dona Paz, en route from Tacloban City to Manila in the Philippines amid choppy seas, collided with the MT Vector, an oil tanker carrying 8,800 barrels of gasoline. Most of the passengers were asleep, so few had time to react as a fire aboard the Vector spread rapidly to theDona Paz. With life jackets locked away and a confused crew, the passengers' chances of survival were slim. Philippine maritime authorities heard about the accident eight hours later, taking an additional eight hours to conduct search and rescue operations. Just 26 survived from both ships; the estimated number of passengers who died varies, ranging from just more than 1,500 to 4,000.
  6. MS ESTONIA (1994):

    As the largest ship belonging to the recently liberated Estonia, the MS Estoniaserved as an object of pride for the nation. It also caused horrible despair. Destined for Stockholm from Estonia, it struggled through a storm with 35 to 45 mph winds and 10-to 13-foot waves, weather typical for the Baltic Sea in the fall. When water flooded the vehicle deck, the ship rolled to 90 degrees, prompting the ship's crew to communicate a mayday. Ferries and helicopters arrived at the scene during the next couple hours, rescuing 138 people — including one who died at the hospital. Drowning and hypothermia caused 852 deaths, the largest peacetime shipwreck disaster in the history of the Baltic Sea.
  7. NEW CARISSA (1999):

    Fortunately, no lives were lost during the grounding of theNew Carissa, but it did have an adverse impact on Oregon's coastline. Approaching Port of Coos Bay, it was forced to anchor due to poor weather conditions and thus delay its arrival. A short chain and high winds, however, dragged the ship toward the shore, and by the time the crew had figured it out, it was too late. The vessel ran aground and two of its fuel tanks spilled 70,000 gallons of fuel oil and diesel, eventually killing 3,000 shorebirds and seabirds. Attempts to burn off the oil caused the ship to break into two, and it was later dismantled in 2008 despite becoming somewhat of a tourist attraction.

    The German-based cruise ship was constructed with a double hull to prevent damage from minor collisions around the Antarctic Peninsula, a feature that made it seem perfectly safe. Even still, it wasn't strong enough to withstand a large rock or reef in Sandfly Passage, Solomon Islands. After the passengers were successfully evacuated and the ship began to list, the captain was forced to ground it in Roderick Bay, where it has since remained with a 46-degree list. Like the New Carissa during its prolonged grounding, theWorld Discoverer serves as an offbeat attraction for tourists.
  9. MV JOOLA (2002):

    Only the Dona Paz disaster is considered to have been more costly than the Joola disaster, which ended with 1,863 deaths. Owned by the Senegalese government, the ship made frequent trips from Southern Senegal to Dakar with more passengers than its intended 580. As it embarked on the usual journey prior to its sinking, it held about 2,000 passengers, enough to make the ship vulnerable to a storm off the coast of Gambia. Designed only to navigate coastal waters, it quickly succumbed to the strong winds and heavy waves, sinking in fewer than five minutes. Overcrowding and a long history of technical problems were primary factors leading to its demise. Only 64 passengers survived, including only one woman who was pregnant.
  10. MV LEVINA 1 (2007):

    Tragedy struck twice aboard the Levina 1. Just six hours after the ferry departed from Jakarta, it caught fire, forcing hundreds of passengers to jump into the Java Sea. At least 51 people were killed and more than 290 were rescued, many of whom were picked up by the Levina II, the ferry's sister ship. Remarkably, 60 passengers were able to swim to a nearby island to wait for help. The next day, four investigators and 12 journalists were transported to the ship, where several boarded without lifevests. Not long after, it listed and quickly began to sink, causing a panic among the party aboard. Two police forensic officers and a cameraman went missing, and another cameraman died in the hospital.

Thursday 15 September 2011

How Do International Conventions Work?

There are generally three ways in which states agree to be bound by to international treaties (also referred to as conventions, protocols etc.):

1) Full Signature - Very uncommon, basically the state signs up to the new treaty and agrees to be bound by its terms at the same time - a move for the main proponent of a treaty or a state which has much to gain from its going ahead.
2) Signature subject to Ratification - Probably the most common type of way to proceed: a state signs a treaty to show its support in principle for a treaty but does not wish to be bound by its terms until it feels the time is right, when it will ratify the convention.
3) Accession - This is normally for the 'latecomers' if you like - they come along and see other who have signed and already moved to ratification and skip all the nonsense and just 'accede' to the treaty, agreeing to be bound by all its terms straight away in one step.

In some states once the treaty has been consented to fully it automatically becomes binding on a national level, national courts must abide by it. In other states a national law must be passed in the normal way by parliament, containing the text of the convention.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Latin Terms Used in Shipping Law

Some might say that shipping law is one of the more old fashioned categories of civil law, especially in comparison with say Intellectual Property or Media law. And although the Woolf Reforms* signalled the death knell for much of the latin used in civil courts in England and Wales it is still common  to come across the use of legal latin in shipping law claims and cases.

Here is a list of some of the most common legal latin phrases and words and their meanings.

Latin - English - Meaning 

Ab Initio - From the outset - This is normally used to describe that something is invalid or unlawful from its beginning. For example if you entered an illegal contract and after some time operating under it someone breached it, you might say that the contract was invalid from the date of the breach whereas another party
might argue that the contract was void ab initio, in other words it was never effective.  

Bona Vacantia - Ownerless goods - Some legal systems, including the English legal system, have a concept of Bona Vacantia, to organise how to deal with property which is owned by no one. Examples of such property would be if someone set up a company and then suddenly moved to the Amazon (for a lfiestyle change). The company would eventually be dissolved for not trading and its assets, not being claimed by any shareholders, would be Bona Vacantia and go to the government (essentially). Another example is the assets of people who die with no known relatives and leaving no will.

De Minimus Non Curat Lex - The law does not concern itself with trifles - This is a very useful maxim. The point behind it is that the law is made for keeping order in society (criminal) and allowing confidence in personal and commercial contracts (that the Civil law will uphold them if broken). All this is for the greater good of everyone in the society. The law is not there to pick on tiny points and punish people or businesses for tiny technicalities which are of no interest to anyone. For example, if you walk on the grass where there is a sign that says 'do not walk on the grass', you may have technically broken an agreement with the landowner or caused criminal damage but neither the civil nor criminal courts will be interested in your actions as they are relatively insignificant. Another example, that I witnessed myself, was someone entering train station barriers to meet a friend on the platform. They were asked where they were going by an attendant on the platform and when they explained he told them the terms of their season ticket say they must only enter the area beyond the barriers for the purpose of travel. Whilst this may be true no court would be interested in such a minor indiscretion.

Nemo Dat Quod Non Habet - You cannot give what you do not have - English law recognises this concept, particularly in relation to the transfer of property. If I sold your car on Ebay, despite you being the owner clearly that would be a fraud so this subtle maxim would probably not be relevant. Where it is more relevant, for instance in a maritime law context, would be if your vessel goes on fire and, although put out, the repair cost will be more than the total insured value. The H&M insurers might agree to pay you the total insured value but in doing so obtain a proprietary interest in the vessel (i.e. a right to sell the fire damaged vessel and offset the proceeds, say £ 10,000 against their payout). If you then accept their cheque and then sell the wreck to a hobbyist boat restorer friend for £ 1, say, then the court could invaludate this sale because you have given something (the proprietary interest in the vessel) that was not yours to give.

Res Judicata - A judged matter - This means that a claim has been dealt with already and cannot be reopened. For example if a Claimant sues someone and they agree to pay them compensation. They spend the compensation and then issue legal proceedings for compensation the defendant would please Res Judicata as a defence on the basis the matter had already been dealt with. Similarly if you are sued and win your case before the court, only to find the Claimant sueing you again for the same claim, you could please Res Judicata.

* The 1996 Woolf Reforms (implemented to civil law cases from 1999 onwards) were designed to make the civil court process in England and Wales more approacheble, cheaper, quicker and easier to understand. As a result they abolished the use of latin in civil cases. As they related to civil cases you will still find latin used in criminal law (Actus reus etc.).

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