No Flag State Accident Report May Lead To Seafarer Detention

 Accident report, news, Sinking, South Africa  Comments Off on No Flag State Accident Report May Lead To Seafarer Detention
Mar 082010

Your freedom following a maritime accident may depend on whether your flag state undertakes an investigation, at least in South Africa. A Western Cape High Court, Cape Town, has decided that seafarers can be detained in the country at the request of third parties, such as cargo owners, for the collection of evidence in claims to be arbitrated in another country to determine civil liability even if the incident did not take place in its jurisdiction.

Ince & Co’s latest Shipping E-brief warns: “It is clear that this decision, being the first of its kind in South Africa ordering the detention of crew at the behest of a third party to take evidence, sends a strong warning to shipowners and their insurers that crew may, depending on the circumstances of the case, be compelled by the Court to give evidence should they find themselves in South Africa following a serious casualty at sea. This may be so even where, as in this case, the substantive issues will be dealt with in another jurisdiction and the casualty occurred outside of South African territorial waters.”

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