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Some hull policies cover damage caused to other vessels when manoeuvring the own vessel, e.g. wash damage. Damage arising out of a manoeuvres which cause another vessel to run aground, collide with another vessel, or damage a FFO is covered by the P&I insurer subject to the individual certificate of entry.

Such damage is likely to occur in confined waters when approaching estuaries or pilotage areas. Wash damage can occur when a vessel has a poor trim or proceeds at excessive speed in confined waters, e.g. rivers. Claimants include marinas and the yachts and boats using them. There may also be damage to river banks and the vessels and barges tied up alongside, including newbuildings berthed at shipyards. The risk of wash damage is greater in tidal rivers where the mooring arrangements of other vessels may be inadequate. Whilst manoeuvring alongside moored vessels, special attention should be paid to vessels such as tankers, reefers or ro-ro vessels using fixed installations, such as chic-sans, flexible pipelines, booms, banana elevators or ramps. The slightest movement of such vessels may cause extensive damage and commercial losses.

An erratic or unexpected manoeuvre may cause another vessel to run aground, collide with a third vessel, or damage a FFO which may result in substantial claims. To prevent such situations arising, the Master should ensure that

  • there is always a safe distance between vessels
  • vessels involved are clearly identified when exchanging VHF messages.

    When overtaking, being overtaken or meeting another vessel in rivers and canals, manoeuvres should be commenced only

  • after clear and precise information is exchanged as to which sides the vessels will pass
  • if there is safe clearance between the two vessels to avoid contact
  • if there is safe clearance to the river or canal banks.