When vessel data recorders were first mandated, it is fair to say that there was some disquiet afloat. This was the maritime equivalent of the dreaded “spy in the cab” that scrutinised the lives of road hauliers, except that one’s very conversations at 0200 on a stormy winter’s night, when the antecedents of the owner might be discussed less respectfully than he might wish were being recorded. The fact that they might then be played back ashore at the end of the voyage, when one’s promotion was being considered, seemed a bit worrying.
In fact VDRs have largely been accepted and sensible people see the advantages they can bring, in everything from disputes about the weather to near miss situations. Most of us learned from an early age… Continue reading
What would you think about a port that would not admit you until you signed a bit of paper which said that anything that could conceivably happen to your ship while alongside, was your liability? It could be entirely due to the negligence of the port’s employees that your ship was damaged, or that the quayside was dented, but it would be all your fault and because you had signed some nonsensical form purporting to be a “condition of use”, it would be no use pursuing a claim against the port.
In the very least, you would think the practice was outrageous, and moreover in breach of the Civil Liability Convention. But , grinding your teeth in rage, you would advise the master to sign this disgraceful piece of… Continue reading