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Gard Guidance Masters


Claims will usually follow as a consequence of an accident or incident. Repairs to the vessel or machinery may need to be carried out. It is very important to collect the best possible evidence of the

  • nature
  • cause
  • extent,
    of any loss or damage.


    As a fundamental rule, the Master must never interfere, destroy, tamper with or dispose of any evidence.



    Even insignificant items can be of fundamental importance. Evidence can be collected by
    • retaining all relevant paper documentation and electronic data
    • taking photographs and video and labelling them with details of
    – the date and time taken
    – the persons involved
    – the property damaged
    – the area concerned
    • retaining damaged equipment or parts – keep these in an appropriate place to avoid deterioration or corrosion and locked to prevent unauthorised access
    • retaining cargo samples – to avoid deterioration, keep these in appropriate containers or bottles – please also see section Cargo sampling dry bulk cargoes
    • noting the names, addresses and contact details of any eye witnesses
    • taking statements from any eye witnesses
    • filing sea protests and letters of protest
    • arranging for a survey through the correspondent.

    When retaining physical evidence, the Master should personally take the responsibility of properly labelling and preserving such items, and ensuring they are not thrown away.

    The Master should ensure that a digital camera, with fully charged batteries ready for use, is always available on the bridge and/or in the vessel’s office, to take photographic evidence as described above.