Yesterday morning, on October 11, 2018, a passenger ferry — Voc Batavia — transporting 153 passengers between Tarempa and Bintan Pura (two island locations within the Riau Archipelago belonging to Indonesia) collided with a bulk carrier — Pacific Crown — that was en route to Singapore.
According to reports, Voc Batavia struck Pacific Crown with enough force that several passengers and crew members were injured on-impact, and one passenger was thrown overboard (though subsequently rescued). Following the accident, the bulk carrier moved on to Singapore, while the ferry — despite having sustained significant structural damage — was able to safely navigate to shore and dock.
Unfortunately, no further information regarding the incident (and the condition of the injured passengers and crew members) is available at this time. The cause of the collision is currently being investigated.
Though we are pleased to learn that the collision did not cause either vessel to sink, or lead to any other catastrophic event, we are at a loss as to why absent failure to keep a proper look out, or having the vessel on autopilot not tied to a radar caused this accident. Reports do not indicate that the weather was poor at the time of the collision, nor does it appear that any mechanical issue caused the ferry to be incapable of altering course. As such, those who were injured may have an actionable claim against the ferry operator for damages.
Vessels Must Exercise Reasonable Care to Avoid a Collision
All vessels — ferries, bulk carriers, small recreational boats, cruise ships, etc. — must exercise reasonable care when navigating a course, to ensure that they do not collide with potential hazards, whether an environmental hazard (i.e., shallow water rocks, leading to a grounding accident) or another vessel.
It is the responsibility of crew aboard each ship to be aware of their surroundings, properly maintain equipment, use navigation and communication equipment as necessary to avoid close calls, and to account for factors that could make safe navigation more difficult — such as poor weather conditions. Failure to do so can expose the ship operator to significant civil liability for any injuries caused.
We Can Help
If you (or a family member) has suffered serious harm in a maritime collision accident, then you may have a right to bring a civil action against the vessel operator responsible for the harm caused. Ships do not collide unless the crew have acted in a negligent manner, or there are unexpected, or uncontrollable conditions (i.e., sudden equipment failure, poor weather, etc.) contributing to the collision. Given the inherent complications of maritime injury claims — particularly in the context of collision accidents — it’s important that you consult a team of attorneys who understand how to effectively navigate the murky waters typical of such litigation.
Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our team of attorneys have over a century of combined experience litigating claims on behalf of passengers and crew members. Though we handle a wide range of lawsuits, our primary focus is on maritime and admiralty claims.
It is our belief that potential lawsuits must be brought quickly, be responsive to the needs of the client and be aggressively and decisively pursued in order to obtain the best possible result. We work closely with clients from the point of our engagement to the end of the case. This enables us to ensure that we are fully apprised of the facts and have access to all relevant records needed to take decisive action and put the negligent party in a vulnerable position. This in turn often leads to early but substantial negotiated settlements, which avoid the risks inherent in all trials. However if a settlement is not in our client’s best interest or in the event that negotiations break down, we are well-equipped to take your case to a verdict and if necessary appeal a bad result.
The present case occurred off the coast of Singapore. It’s important to recognize that regardless of where an incident occurs, those who are injured may be entitled to compensation. Here at Lipcon, we have litigated maritime accident claims in courtrooms throughout the United States and worldwide.
Interested? Contact one of our experienced maritime lawyers today.