What's This About Rules and Hurricanes?

Posted by John K. Fulweiler | Nov 20, 2012 | 0 Comments

Hurricanes tend to give rise to case law and in poking around I found just such an appellate decision from earlier this year.

The issue that caught my eye related to the Pennsylvania Rule. Under this judge-created rule, if a vessel involved in a collision is in violation of a statutory rule designed to prevent collisions, the vessel must show that the violation could not have been the cause of the collision. It can be a big hill to climb.

So what happened was that during a hurricane, a vessel drifted down and allided with another vessel. The vessel that was struck argued that the drifting vessel was presumptively at fault under the Pennsylvania Rule because the drifting vessel didn't have a mooring permit. The appellate court rejected this argument because it said that there was no evidence that the mooring permit requirement was intended to prevent allisions.

The take away is that not any violation will trigger the Pennsylvania Rule. It has to be the violation of a rule designed to prevent collisions.

Here's hoping that those of you who were in Sandy's path made it out unscathed, or, at least well enough to fight another day. In the meantime, do me a favor and tilt your beverage of choice back to the HMS Bounty this evening, will you?

Underway and making way.

--- Fulweiler llc


About the Author

John K. Fulweiler

Proctor-In-Admiralty / Licensed U.S. Coast Guard Master Formerly a partner in a New York maritime law firm, John K. Fulweiler graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Marine Affairs degree and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law. In addition to being recognized by...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Maritime Legal Issues Explained

Read Our Blog

Talk To Us Today

Fulweiler llc is committed to answering your questions about Maritime Injury law issues

We offer a Free Consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.