Ravenna

The Carnival (1994) is an interesting example of unusual circumstances of a collision situation without actual contact. The vessel Danilovgrade was alongside the Setramar berth, north of the port of Ravenna. Before she was securely moored, the Carnival proceeded along the canal assisted by two tugs. When the Carnival passed the Danilovgrade surged and came into contact with the edge of the quay. The shell plating of the Danilovgrade pressed against a fender and the edge of the end plate pierced the vessel’s shell plating. Water flowed into one of the holds, damaging the cargo. The owners of the Danilovgrade claimed damages from the owners of the Carnival on the ground that the latter vessel was negligently navigated and caused damage. (They also claimed against the voyage charterers on the basis that they had ordered the Danilovgrade to an unsafe berth.) The Court of Appeal held that the Carnival was negligent in passing the Danilovgrade before the latter was securely moored and all lines were out and made fast. It was found that the pilot of the Danilovgrade had not passed on a message on VHF that his vessel was alongside and moored securely and had not given his consent for the Carnival to pass. (The Court also held that the berth was unsafe by reason of the design of the fender.) The Court held that the owners of the Carnival were substantially more blameworthy than the voyage charterers of the Danilovgrade. It was unlikely that the Danilovgrade would have suffered such damage if the Carnival had not passed too early. The owners of the Carnival could, however, recover from the voyage charterers of the Danilovgrade one-third of the total damages paid to the owners of the Danilovgrade. The defendants’ argument that the damage was too remote was rejected. The Court held that the true test was whether it was foreseeable that, as a result of negligence on the part of the Carnival (if proved), the Danilovgrade would suffer damage. It was unnecessary to pinpoint foreseeability by reference to the actual damage suffered.