In Owners and/or Demise Charterers of the Ship 'Kamal XXVI' and Barge 'Kamal XXIV' v Owners of the Ship 'Ariela' – Butterworths Law Direct 24.10.07 the action arose out of a collision in the entrance channel to Mormugoa (Goa) between the Defendants' bulk carrier, Ariela and the Claimants' hopper barge Kamal XXIV which was moored alongside the Claimants' dredger Kamal XXVI. The impact brought the barge into contact with the dredger, which was heavily damaged.
The primary issue in the case was the location of the dredger. There were also subsidiary but related issues, namely (i) at what stage did Ariela commence altering to starboard to come round into the next leg of the channel and what degree of helm was applied; (ii) was the barge Kamal XXIV lit; and (iii) when was the barge first seen by those on Ariela.
The dredger was not under way. It was lying, secured by five anchors in line with the axis of the channel. With the approach of the Defendant's vessel, the dredger ceased dredging and slackened her port anchor chain thereby moving northward so that her centre line was approximately on the channel edge.
The Commercial Court held that it was clear on the evidence that Ariela was at fault in commencing her turn too late and/or in failing to apply sufficient helm. Kamal XXVI was not at fault first, because although the barge was unlit, she was seen by the pilot at a range of one and a half miles when inward bound, and a passing distance of 12 metres from the dredger was obviously dangerous and unseamanlike, and the absence of lighting was of no causative significance. Although the port side of the barge abutted some 20 metres into the channel that was a safe position and given the width of the channel, any inward bound vessel was not embarrassed.