Berth damage — Terminal Contenitori Porto di Genova SpA v China Shipping Container Lines Ltd

Terminal Contenitori Porto di Genova SpA v China Shipping Container Lines Ltd (Xin Xia Men) [2014] EWHC 1629 (Comm)
Instances of vessels making contact with and damaging a berth are fairly common. Disputed claims on liability are much rarer, given that often it is very clear that the vessel bears 100 per cent of the fault. In this recent first-instance decision, the High Court was asked to consider allegations of negligence directed at the terminal.

On 5 June 2011, during strong wind and rains, Xin Xia Men, a container ship owned by China Shipping Container Lines, was blown off the quay at Genoa’s container terminal and impacted with the terminal’s shore crane PT4.

The wind speed was measured at various sources around the terminal, but the anemometer on crane PT4 indicated that the wind speed shot up from about 7km/h at 17:13 to 77km/h just 30 seconds later. There were gusts of around 80km/h until 17:15, when it dropped to 60km/h. Footage from the terminal’s CCTV showed the vessel begin to move away from the quay as the wind speed increased. By 17:15, the vessel was about 20m parallel to the quay. It stopped at around 17:16 then began swinging back in four minutes later. At 17:25, the vessel stopped moving. The vessel’s starboard bow connected with the leg of crane PT4 at some point between 17:14 and 17:25. The crane derailed and was damaged…

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