Krysia Maritime Inc v Intership Ltd, Court of Appeal - Admiralty Division, July 01, 2008, [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep 570,[2008] EWHC 1523 (Admlty)

Resolution Date:July 01, 2008
Issuing Organization:Admiralty Division
Actores:Krysia Maritime Inc v Intership Ltd

Neutral Citation Number: [2008] EWHC 1523 (Admlty)Case No: 2007-1581IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICEQUEEN'S BENCH DIVISIONADMIRALTY COURTRoyal Courts of JusticeStrand, London, WC2A 2LLDate: 1 July 2008 Before :THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE AIKENS- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Between :- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Mr Chirag Karia (instructed by Davies Johnson & Co, Solicitors, Plymouth) for the ClaimantsMr Stewart Buckingham (instructed by Holman Fenwick Willan, Solicitors, London) for the DefendantsHearing dates: 24th, 25th and 26th June 2008- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -JudgmentMr Justice Aikens : 1. This action arises out of an incident on 30th September 2006 some 60 miles off the Nigerian coast. The number 1 Port outer propeller of the claimants' fast support and intervention vessel, ``KRYSIA'' was fouled by a rope and wire attached to the aft end of a Yokohama fender which was secured forward on the portside of the defendants' dumb barge ``EUROPA''. ``EUROPA'' (``the barge'') was herself moored alongside the floating production, storage and offloading vessel (``FPSO'') in the oilfield ``ERHA''. The claimants allege that this fouling caused substantial damage to the ``KRYSIA's'' propeller, gearbox and line shaft resulting in losses of approximately US$560,000 to the claimants. 2. The trial on liability, together with any points of principle on damages, was held before me on 24th to 26th June 2008. I was assisted by a Nautical Assessor, Captain Richards. Oral evidence was heard from five witnesses. Mr Allan Membreve, First Officer of ``KRYSIA'' and Captain Saliou Diouf, master of ``KRYSIA'', were called on behalf of the claimants. Captain Victorios Jadol, the master of the barge, Captain Hans-Dieter Mueschen, the mooring master of the Barge, and Mr Stuart Edmonston, a Master Mariner employed by the defendants' solicitors, Holman Fenwick & Willan International, were called on behalf of the defendants. I also received evidence under the Civil Evidence Act 1995 from Captain Papa Momar Gueye, master of ``KRYSIA'' until 25th September 2006 and from Mr Apolonio Mendoza, a professional diver. He examined the fouled propeller on 5th October 2006 and recovered the rope and wire wrapped around the propeller and tail shaft. Both of those statements were served on behalf of the claimants. 3. At the conclusion of the evidence counsel prepared very helpful written closing submissions. These were supplemented by short oral submissions on 26th June 2008. I reserved judgment.A. The parties, the vessels and the Yokohama fenders4. The claimants are owners of the fast support and intervention vessel ``KRYSIA''. She is a vessel of 421 gross tonnes, 125 net tonnes, being 50 metres in length, 9.1 metres in breadth and a moulded draft of 2.4 metres. ``KRYSIA'' has four diesel engines which drive four fixed pitch propellers. Each engine produces a maximum of 2,400 brake horsepower. When ``KRYSIA'' left the port of Onne, Nigeria, at 1600 hours on 29th September 2006, bound for her rendezvous with the barge, her drafts were 1.95 metres forward and 2.12 metres aft.5. ``KRYSIA'' was built in 2002. She is designed to carry 80 passengers in business style airline seats and 12 passengers in VIP seats, at speeds of up to 31 knots. She can also carry deck cargo, fuel and fresh water in order to supply oil rigs and offshore installations. She has twin rudders and a bow thruster. Her wheelhouse is positioned forward. There is also an after control position in the wheelhouse, for use when the vessel is manoeuvring. ``KRYSIA's'' stern is of the transom type and is protected by a row of aircraft tyres of about 30cm width, strung just below the after bulwark. 6. The vessel's twin rudders are positioned directly aft of and in line with the outer port and outer starboard propellers. The outer edge of each of the two rudders follows the downward line of the transom stern at an angle of about 30 degrees. 7. There was some controversy as to the precise distances between the number 1, outer, port propeller and the extremity of the stern and between the centreline of that propeller and the extremity of the portside of the vessel. I accept the measurements taken by Mr Poul Henning Nygard Pedersen, the superintendent of ``KRYSIA'', when the vessel was dry docked in January 2007. The distances he took are as follows: (i) from the extremity of the propeller to the upper edge of the stern: 195cm; (ii) from the extremity of the propeller to the lower edge of the stern: 120cm; (iii) from the centreline of the propeller to the lower edge of the port side: 140cm; (iv) the radius of the number 1 propeller: 54cm. These measurements are important for reasons that will become clear later in this judgment.8. ``EUROPA'' is a dumb offshore accommodation work barge of 7,302 gross tonnes and 3,198 net tonnes. She is 82.5 metres in length and 22.5 metres in breadth. At the relevant time she was owned by the defendants and chartered to Saipem S.A. pursuant to a time charperparty on an amended Supplytime 89 Form. She was providing accommodation and other services to the FPSO ``ERHA''. On her port side deck, she has two pad - eyes. One is 20 metres from her bow and one is 22.50 metres from her bow.9. The FPSO ``ERHA'' was employed in the ERHA oil field which is approximately 60 miles off the Nigerian coast. At the time of the incident ``EUROPA'' was moored on the starboard side of the FPSO. Broadly speaking, on 30th September 2006, the FPSO was moored in a north-south direction. The bow of the barge ``EUROPA'' was thus headed in a southerly direction. ``EUROPA'' was made fast to the FPSO using 8 synthetic mooring ropes. There were a number of fenders between ``EUROPA'' and the FPSO.10. Two Yokohama fenders were located on the port side of ``EUROPA''. These pneumatic rubber fenders have tyres lashed onto them with chains in order to protect them. They were positioned on the port side of ``EUROPA'' specifically for use during operations by supply boats, such as ``KRYSIA''. The Yokohama fenders were about 6 metres in length and about 3 metres in diameter. Yokohama fenders are normally secured to the vessel it protects by means of a steel chain or wire. In the case of the port side forward Yokohama fender on ``EUROPA'', the forward end of the fender was secured to ``EUROPA'' by a chain of approximately 8 metres in length. That was secured to the Yokohama fender with a shackle which was itself secured to a pad-eye welded on to a steel plate in the middle of the forward part of the fender. A steel wire was used to secure the after end of this fender to ``EUROPA''. This steel wire, which was about 1.5 inches in diameter, was also attached to the fender via swivels and a shackle secured to a pad eye welded onto the steel plate of the fender. 11. Also on the port side of the deck of ``EUROPA'' there is a ``surfer landing platform''. This is used by a small boat - a surfer - to disembark personnel. The platform is situated just aft of the position where the pad - eyes are on the deck of ``EUROPA''.12. On 23rd September 2006, the forward Yokohama fender was lifted out of the water for maintenance and repair, using a crane on the FPSO. I am satisfied that at the time this was done, there was a rope which had been attached to the aft - end swivel of the fender. This rope, which was referred to during the trial as a ``pick- up'' rope or a ``tag line'', was used by the crew of the FPSO and ``EUROPA'' to control the movement of the fender as it was swung onto the deck of the FPSO, where the maintenance and any repairs were carried out. After these were completed the fender was repositioned. The pick up rope was used to control the swing and descent of the fender as it was lowered from the FPSO to the deck of ``EUROPA''. Once on the deck of ``EUROPA'', the original securing chain was made fast to the forward end of the fender and the securing wire was made fast to the after end of the fender. The fender was then lifted up by the crane of the FPSO and swung over the port side of ``EUROPA'' into the water. The pick up rope was used to help manoeuvre the fender into position.13. There is acute controversy in respect of two matters concerning the after securing wire and the pick up rope as I have described it. The first is the length of the after securing wire and the pick up rope. The second is whether or not the pick up rope was itself re - secured to a pad-eye on the portside forward part of the deck of ``EUROPA'' after the fender had been repositioned; or, if it was, whether it subsequently became loose. (Originally there had been an issue about whether the pick-up rope had remained in place at all, but at the trial the defendants accepted that it did). It is the claimants' case that the pick up rope was never secured to the pad - eye on the port side of the deck of ``EUROPA'' after the work on the fender on 23rd September 2006. Alternatively, it is said that at some point between 23rd September and the afternoon of 30th September 2006, the pick up rope became unsecured from the pad-eye, although it remained attached to the shackle on the after end of the fender. But in this state it would have had one end loose in the water. It is the defendant's case that the pick up rope remained secured at all times, both to the after end shackle attached to the fender and at the pad-eye on the port forward deck of the barge. B. Weather and sea conditions on 30 September 200614. The ERHA FPSO and ``EUROPA'' were positioned in Gulf of Benin, approximately 60 miles off Warri on the coast of Nigeria. At that position on 30th September 2006, the wind was southwesterly force 3. There was a sea state force 2 with a two metre swell running from the southwest. There was also a current running south west to north east at about 1.9 knots. The...

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