Container Ship Collides With Turkish Pier, Causing Fuel Leak

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

On Monday, November 19 at roughly 8:00AM, MSC Katyayni — a Panama-flagged container ship owned by Zodiac Maritime and operated by MSC — collided with the pier at Gebze port in Turkey while attempting to navigate around pier infrastructure.

According to initial media reports, the impact occurred above the waterline on the portside of MSC Katyayni, causing minor hull damage and a breach in the fuel tank.  The breach led to a fuel leak.  Crew members aboard MSC Katyayni — in coordination with Turkish harbor authorities — immediately off loaded the remaining fuel to prevent further discharge, and placed a containment boom around the ship to minimize the diffusion of fuel into the environment.

Though no injuries were suffered in the present case, the risk of harm was significant.  It is not difficult to imagine a situation in which MSC Katyayni might have collided with pier infrastructure and caused it to collapse onto a dock worker or other bystander.  Had any crew members or bystanders suffered injuries as a result of the collision (or fuel leak), they would have an actionable claim for damages.

Care Must Be Exercised When Navigating Around Pier Infrastructure

Ships must exercise caution appropriate to the circumstances when maneuvering around hazards.  Failure to exercise reasonable care in doing so — and subsequently causing others to suffer harm as a result – could expose the vessel operator to significant civil liability.

In the present case, it does not appear that weather conditions at the time were particularly rough — in fact, reports do not establish any external factors contributing to the collision accident at-issue.  Were the conditions actually rough, then MSC Katyayni should have avoided maneuvering around the pier, or should have been more careful in doing so.  Of course, it’s also possible that some mechanical issue contributed to the accident, but under such circumstances, the vessel operator could still be held responsible — operators have a responsibility to conduct regular inspections and correct defects.

Given the facts as currently known for this case, MSC Katyayni seems to have failed to exercise reasonable care in navigating through the port of Gebze, thus exposing them to potential civil liability.

We Can Help

If you’ve been harmed due to a maritime accident involving a pier collision — whether you’re a passenger, crew member, or bystander — then you may be entitled to sue and recover damages from the operator of the vessel in question.

Bringing a maritime injury lawsuit can be complicated.  The dispute may be different depending on the jurisdiction, as well as the nature of the relationship between you and the defendant.  It is therefore important to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible so that an appropriate evaluation and a comprehensive case strategy are set in motion to enable the best outcome for your case.

Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our attorneys boast over a century of combined trial experience litigating injury claims on behalf of crew members, passengers, and others who have suffered harm in maritime accidents.  We have a long and successful history handling a range of maritime and admiralty lawsuits, including those that involve pier collision events.

If you’d like to speak to an experienced maritime lawyer about your case, we encourage you to contact Lipcon to request an appointment.  We look forward to assisting you.