Ship Safety in Port

Ship has been able to enter the port safely but she cannot use the port safely and there may be various reasons why she cannot use it safely for the operation intended. The use of the port is at the time in question so, if an obstruction which would have caused danger has been cleared while the vessel is on passage to it, then the port will be safe for use on her arrival. The port must also remain safe while the vessel is there. The port does not have to be safe the whole time that the vessel is there as long as she can leave safely when danger arises and return once the danger has passed. In one old case ships had to keep steam ready for the engines in order that they could put to sea promptly if a known danger arose; it was held that this did constitute a safe port. The test was that the need to depart was predictable and that the ships could take the action needed in order to depart, in good time. It is under this particular category of danger that ‘The Eastern City’ case was decided. The facts of the case were: “The ship was ordered to the port of Mogador in Morocco in winter. The holding at the port could be unreliable in certain conditions for a ship of that size but also, and rather more importantly, departure from the berths to sea was hazardous. The conditions which made staying at the port dangerous were unpredictable and change could be sudden. As these factors all raised real danger for ships such as the Eastern City, the port was found to be unsafe. Before the case was finally decided in the Court of Appeal, the judge in the lower court, Pearson J, said “A port is not safe for the ship unless there is reasonable assurance that the imminence of such weather conditions will be recognised in time and that ship will be able to leave the port safely”