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Effective casualty response and investigation

In the aftermath of a maritime casualty the aim should be to contain the situation quickly and to limit damage. Decisions made in the short term have long-term legal implications and every action will be come under scrutiny in the spotlight of the press with the multiplying effect of social media. You will want to be supported by people who understand and have experienced that pressure and who are used to working with your insurers and P & I Club.

Experience. Between us we have over 200 years working with all stakeholders in the immediate aftermath of a casualty. Between us we have direct hands-on experience in many of the world’s headline cases:

  • Braer
  • Erika
  • Evoikos
  • Faina
  • Herald of Free Enterprise
  • Hyundai Fortune
  • ICL Vikraman c/w Mount 1
  • Marchioness Thames disaster
  • MSC Napoli
  • Penlee Lifeboat disaster
  • Prestige
  • Rocknes
  • Sealand Express
  • Tricolour

Evidence collection. Gathering of evidence and preserving privilege is critical.  We routinely investigate, analyse and prepare evidence relating to:

  • collisions
  • fires
  • heavylift incidents
  • seaworthiness
  • engine breakdown
  • groundings
  • salvage
  • mechanical or structural failures

Technical expertise.  We have the technical, ex-mariner supported, expertise to gather data and evidence from VDRs and other ship’s equipment. We work with you to interpret this to obtain an accurate picture of what has happened and to understand the legal implications that follow. One of our partners is a former naval architect trained with Lloyd’s Register.

Fast response. We deploy very quickly. Our ex-Master Mariners and lawyers are on hand to travel to collect evidence and give guidance to the Master and his crew or with your Crisis Management Team, often working with or under the constraints imposed by coastal state authorities. Choosing the right jurisdiction depending on whether you are a claimant or defendant is often a critical factor.

We provide a 24-hour Casualty Response and Investigation capability.

Criminalisation of crew. It is a sad feature of maritime casualties that often crew are seen as easy scapegoats and are threatened with criminal action by the local authorities. Working with your local lawyers to represent them or to get them quickly out of the firing line is an important part of any response. We understand what that means and what has to be done.

Fees. We have a very flexible approach to fee arrangements including fixed fee investigations.    

Reputation and media response. You cannot insure your reputation, and yet that is often your most important asset. Appointing media consultants is now an accepted first step and we will work with you and them to ensure that the media response is effective and robust.

And we are passionate about the work we do.