Stephenson Harwood adises on collision

Stephenson Harwood, Clyde & Co and Ince & Co are attempting to unravel the mass of claims flooding in following last week's shipping accident in the Channel.

Cruise liner Norwegian Dream, owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, was in collision with Ever Decent, a cargo ship owned by Evergreen Marine Corporation, which was carrying toxic chemicals.

Simon Tatham, a partner in the admiralty group at Stephenson Harwood, confirms the firm is acting for Skuld, an Oslo-based professional and indemnity club, which lists Norwegian Cruise Lines as a member.

Tatham says the firm was instructed early on the 24 August, the morning of the crash.

But he is not able to say how many members of the nine-strong admiralty department are working on the deal or how long he expected the instruction to last.

“I cannot comment on that, but generally the admiralty world is one of the most efficient forms of litigation. Matters are resolved very sensibly and very seldom go to court,” he says.

However, he adds: “This situation is not going to be resolved overnight.”

A spokeswoman at Ince & Co says a four-strong team led by Chris Moore, a senior admiralty partner at the firm, has been instructed by the owner, the ship's professional and indemnity club, and the underwriter of Ever Decent.

She says: “The investigation will commence as soon as the crew is available for interviewing.”

Simon Fletcher, a senior partner in the marine casualty department at Clyde & Co, says the firm has been instructed by an insurer acting on behalf of a company with cargo on Ever Decent, adding: “We are anticipating more [instructions].”

Fletcher says: “The cargo was loaded in Hong Kong and Taiwan. It is going take time to sort out what is going on.”

Fletcher adds the cost of the salvage operation has yet to be broken down since both the ship owner and the cargo owners will pay an amount towards the recovery of the vessel.