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For further details please refer to Gard Circular to Members No. 05/2000.

A grounding can be caused by

  • the vessel losing her manoeuvrability
  • underestimating natural forces such as wind and tidal currents
  • manoeuvring to avoid collision with another vessel
  • losing control of the vessel
  • uncharted underwater obstructions
  • incompetent navigation
  • dragging of anchor
  • negligent passage planning not considering water depths
  • improperly corrected sea charts
  • ‘edge cutting’ on passage
  • fatigue and falling asleep
  • negligent watchkeeping
  • intentionally, in an emergency, to prevent the vessel sinking.

    Salvage assistance in the form of a salvage tug is necessary if the vessel has lost her ability to manoeuvre or is firmly aground.

    As the salvage costs are covered by the Hull and Machinery cover, the Master should immediately contact the Hull and Machinery insurer enabling them to send a surveyor to the scene to assist with the salvage or refloating efforts.

    Under the ISM Code the Master has the overriding authority and responsibility to make decisions with respect to safety and pollution prevention – section 5.2 of the ISM Code. Therefore, the Master himself may have to make the decision to engage a tug. Under the Lloyd’s Standard Form of Salvage Agreement (LOF 2000) the salvor is entitled to claim special compensation in addition to the salvage reward for efforts to minimise or prevent damage to the environment. If this special compensation is not covered by the Hull and Machinery insurer, the P&I insurer may become involved. The salvors may advise the Master that they intend to invoke the SCOPIC Clause (Special Compensation P&I Clause), which means that the salvor will be entitled to a fixed compensation from the P&I insurer for his efforts to minimise or prevent damage to the marine environment.

    In such instances, the Master should immediately inform the Company and the P&I insurer enabling them to send a representative to monitor the activities and expenditure of the salvors. The P&I insurer may also become involved generally, as salvage in most cases results in a general average.

    In circumstances where the vessel has run aground, please see section 3.8 Grounding and salvage – general average.