Vessel Duties When Sailing in Convoy Down the Suez Canal | ZFZ Postcard Cases

A convoy of eight vessels was proceeding through the Suez Canal. The head vessel, Aneas, had an engine problem and took steps to anchor.

Thereafter the vessels behind took steps to moor. Later that day the eighth vessel, Panamax Alexander, collided with the seventh vessel in the convoy, Sakizaya Kalon. These two vessels then collided with the Osios David.

None of the vessels accepted liability for the collisions. The vessel owners argued negligence against each other in various respects, including the choice of mooring position, the failure to inform the other vessels of this choice, and in breaching canal regulations.

On 5 October 2020, the English Admiralty Court issued its judgment. The court held that the first collision was the real and effective cause of the later collisions. This is a rare decision in that 100% liability was attributed to only one of the colliding ships, the Panamax Alexander. It provides welcome clarification on the duties of vessels in a convoy sailing down the Suez Canal.