Towage

Out of pocket expenses are also recoverable. This may include salvage and towage expenses, cost of surveys, dock dues, repairs cost, adjusting charges, agency fees, etc. Detention expenses are also recoverable with certain reservations. The basic rule when it is necessary to ascertain the damages due, if any, for the detention of the vessel following a collision is that the actual consequential loss must have resulted and the amount claimed must be reasonably proved. In respect of a collision involving a moving vessel and a stationary vessel, the common law places a presumption of fault on the moving ship. This mean that the owner of the non-moving vessel is not required to establish the elements of negligence in order to succeed in an action against the owner of the moving vessel. In order to escape liability the defendant would have to show lack of negligence on his part. In other words the burden of proof is shifted from the plaintiff (who in negligence must normally establish the three elements of the tort) to the defendant who is now in a position of having to establish a lack of negligence. Apportionment of blame arising from collisions was the subject of a Convention held at Brussels in 1910. In the document drafted and signed by the attending delegates in 1910 the following words appeared: “Damages caused whether to vessels or to their cargoes or to effects or other property of the crew, passengers, etc. are borne by the vessels in fault in said proportion without solidarity as regards third persons”. Many European countries ratified the 1910 convention; the United Kingdom in the very next year, 1911, by enacting the Maritime Conventions Act 1911. Section 1 of the Act contains the words: “If, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it is not possible to establish different degrees of fault, the liability shall be apportioned equally”.