In late July the Supreme Court gave the ship owners permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s unanimous decision in The CMA CGM Libra (1).
Whilst the facts of this case are extensive, the main point of consideration is how to differentiate crew negligence (for which there is a defence under the Hague / Hague Visby Rules) and unseaworthiness (for which there is no defence if there is a failure to exercise due diligence).
To date both the High Court and Court of Appeal have taken the view that the master’s failure to correct the passage plan before setting out from a port in China had the result of making the vessel unseaworthy. The owners’ position remains that the crew’s decision as to what to mark on the chart was a navigational decision and this is covered by the navigational error defence. It will be interesting to hear the Supreme Court’s view on the matter. The hearing is scheduled for sometime in late 2021 and we will keep our followers updated.