The Court of Appeal has confirmed the Commercial Court Judgment on Carboneras’ collision at the cement terminal. The once upon a time cited as the shipping casualty of the 2008-year at Chambers and Partners has come a step closer to its end.
The Court of Appeal in a recent judgment of 15 pages has endorsed in full the the 50 page judgment given by the Commercial Court Magistrate of Almeria, the same Magistrate of Spanish action in The Wadi Sudr. In view of the Court of Appeal the Magistrate’s analysis of the collision at Carboneras was correct, and therefore the action of the terminal on the merits against the owners, tugs, and pilot, must fail.
The judicial leg of this important case started by the arrest application of the terminal against the vessel for what was estimated to be a mere initial claim of about one and a half million Euros. The Terminal’s application was followed by the Commercial Court’s arrest order against the ship for approximately half the applied amount. The subsequent terminal’s claim on the merits was, again, pursued for a more reduced amount of damages. Furthermore, Arizon successfully appealed the arrest order on some of its grounds.
Key to the resolution of this case was the application of “early evidence “ orchestrated and applied for by Arizon on behalf of the shipowners which provided the Court with fresh evidence as to what in fact had occurred at Carboneras. The early cross examinations of the Master and the Pilot, and all the expert evidence available and examined during the two day trial, have been reconsidered by the Court of Appeal to confirm that the Master of the colliding ship had not intervention in the chain of causation leading to the collision. Furthermore, the Court of Appeal has also confirmed that the accident causation, where the tugs were involved, was broken by the negligence of the terminal to keep an old abandoned crane near the berthing area against which the vessel collided.
The shipowners counter-claimed damages against the terminal for its alleged failure to mitigate its losses and damages from the day after the accident took place until the date the ship was arrested. The Court of Appeal has endorsed the Commercial Court Magistrate’s view that considered that the terminal acted in bad faith and failed to mitigate its losses vis a vis the shipowners. However, the Court of Appeal has endorsed as well the Commercial Court’s view that held that the chain of causation between the wrongful act of the terminal and the damages suffered by the shipowners was broken by the anyhow vessel’s need to comply with Class and the Harbour Master before leaving Carboneras’s port. Whist the Court of Appeal has dismissed this disputed head of claim, a larger claim for the damages caused by the subsequent arrest of the ship is pending under the arrest proceedings.
Uria, Albors & Galiano, Ruiz Soroa & Zabaleta and Arizon Abogados are the law firms involved in this paramount appeal case. Felipe Arizon and Dolores Pérez were heavily involved in this litigation case. A copy of the original appeal Court of Appeal judgment is available here.