Case Study: Thuan My collides with the Beks Halil

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On 2 March 2013 our Member’s general cargo vessel Thuan My, with a cargo of concrete pipes destined for Myanmar, was approaching the Eastern entrance to the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme when she was involved in a severe collision with a bulk carrier, the Beks Halil.

Serious damage to cargo hold

Whilst the Beks Halil suffered minor damage and continued on her voyage, the Thuan My sustained serious damage in way of one of her cargo holds above and below the waterline, resulting in the vessel partially submerging in the fairway although remaining afloat. There were no crew injuries or pollution, and thanks to very quick action on the part of the crew in effecting temporary repairs the vessel was prevented from sinking.

The Club’s Singapore branch assisted to engage salvors on the same day on LOF (incorporating Scopic which was invoked) to recover the vessel and her cargo. The Thuan My was towed to a safe anchorage where she was stabilised, temporarily repaired and her cargo eventually discharged ashore into Singapore using a locally engaged tug/barge. The cargo was ultimately sold off as a total loss to a local buyer. LOF / Scopic salvage was terminated on 27 March 2013, and the Thuan My was subsequently towed to a local drydock for permanent repairs.

Casualty management

Close cooperation between all of the stakeholders and advisors to the emergency was facilitated by the Club’s Singapore branch and their correspondents, through daily round table discussions between the Club, Member, correspondents, maritime lawyers, salvors, experts and Special Casualty Representative. The aim was to work urgently through the numerous complications that inevitably arose. This included decisions on the application of Scopic (such as the all important timing of termination), managing the expectations of the hands-on port authority, addressing the port’s security requirements over the damaged vessel and cargo, and discharge and disposal of cargo.

The Club’s orchestration of a casualty management team resulted in quick but informed decisions being made, the fostering of cooperation between parties whose interests do not always dovetail in a Scopic salvage scenario, and the pragmatic front-loading of costs that ultimately secured a good result for all involved.

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Observations

Since the incident collision liability has been agreed with the interests representing the Beks Halil at a proportion significantly in the Member’s favour, and a recovery of costs incurred is in its final stages.

The Club was able to demonstrate how its proactive handling of the matter was helpful in achieving a quick and successful outcome for the Member in Vietnam, a relatively new market for the Club.