At Brookes Bell Group we have a wealth of experience investigating and advising on the management and control of dock damages. We have been appointed to act on behalf of owners, charterers, managers and their legal teams at a number of UK and overseas ports.
Our team of experienced Master Mariners, Civil Engineers, Marine Engineers, and Naval Architects work as a team following an incident to gather all the relevant information and advice on the impact, repairs and causation. This includes interviews with the master/crew and joint inspections with the port authorities.
We have provided expert evidence with respect to dock walls (concrete/steel/stone/brick, etc.) lock gates, caissons, high impact fenders and dolphin type berth arrangements. We have also advised on the replacement of a variety of mobile/loose fender type installations.
For a number of UK ports we hold a portfolio of previous and historical damages, including details on previous costings. By reference to this information and our database of information, we are able to advise whether or not there may have been pre-existing damage at that location or, more importantly, we are able to provide a more accurate quantum regarding the likely cost of proposed repairs for the different ports going forward.
Speed and Consumption Disputes
Brookes Bell has vast experience of investigating speed and consumption performance disputes, on behalf of owners, charterers, managers and ship builders. The vessel types investigated include:
- General cargo ships
- Container ships
- Dry bulk carriers of all sizes.
Using various documents, including the deck and engine log books, voyage abstracts, charter party and contemporaneous messages, we assess the vessel's performance by reference to the good weather parameters specified in the contractual agreement between the parties, to derive any resultant time lost/gained or fuel over/under consumed.
We are frequently called upon to review routeing company performance reports and provide technical opinion on the background information and methodology employed to derive their results.
The dramatic rise in Somali piracy from around 2008 required the shipping industry to change its approach to keeping vessels safe from attack. Brookes Bell has experienced Master Mariners who undertook these challenges while serving at sea and are therefore uniquely placed to provide advice and support disputes and claims arising from this.
Recent trends in piracy have now shifted from Somalia and the Gulf of Aden to other hotspots, notably off West Africa and South-East Asia, meaning this type of issue is becoming more frequent and has to be addressed.
Brookes Bell has expertise in line with Best Management Practice, in voyage planning, re-routeing, vessel preparedness and embarking security personnel and can provide advice to operators and crew.
We have been involved in high profile charter party disputes such as delays for re-routeing and off-hire, where we draw on our extensive practical experience to provide our instructing lawyers or legal teams with expert opinion and advice.
Collisions and Groundings
Brookes Bell has a wealth of experience investigating and advising on vessel collisions and groundings.
Our team of experienced Master Mariners, Marine Engineers, Cargo Scientists, and Naval Architects are ready to work as a team following an incident to gather all the relevant information and advice on the cause and extent of damage and potential repair costs.
Our global presence enables our teams to react on short notice and to provide assistance as and when required.
In-house capabilities for casualty management including vessel modelling, stability/strength assessment, IMDG cargo consideration as well as on-site project control are available worldwide, which allows Brookes Bell to provide a complete in-house package.
Our AIS/VDR playback tools allow fast and effective reconstruction of incidents that enable our clients to have an early understanding into the background of the event, which aids in preparing for anticipated claims going forward.
AIS/VDR Reconstruction and Playback
Brookes Bell has developed an in-house VDR/AIS playback tool for reconstruction and analysis of VDR and/or AIS data, each of which can be stored in a variety of formats including their raw encoded states.
The software package can be used to graphically visualise multiple ships simultaneously on custom backgrounds or official nautical charts, animating the data in real-time or at varying pre-defined playback speeds.
Full user interactive manipulation is available through dynamic zooming/panning and standard media player style controls, giving unparalleled flexibility for customisable static plots or video reconstructions. Additional information, such as navigation light viewing angles and radar and visible ranges, can be included for each vessel which provides additional insight into how the vessels were interacting.
This software package has been used on numerous occasions to evaluate vessel movements prior to and during collision incidents which has allowed our Master Mariners to advise on likely causation and allocation of responsibility. The various options for exporting the final animations or still images make the software extremely attractive to our clients for use in submitted documentation, and in some cases the software has been provided to assist juries in court cases where visualising and understanding the movements of vessels before an incident is of great importance.
Stowage and Securing Assessments
At Brookes Bell we have a wealth of experience investigating and advising on Stowage and Securing of general and project cargoes. We act on behalf of owners, charterers, managers and their legal teams during pre-loading, through loading operations, to post-incident analysis and through to providing expert evidence in legal proceedings.
Our team of experienced Master Mariners and Naval Architects are fully versed in the latest statutory requirements. Each understands the legal implications surrounding the stowage and securing of cargo, including SOLAS, Cargo Securing Manuals, CSS Code 2011, and The 2011 Timber Deck Cargo Code.
We have attended worldwide to investigate shifts of cargo on general cargo vessels, bulk carriers, container ships, ro-ro vessels and pure car carriers. We have an established team of experienced Mariner and Naval Architect surveyors who are also proactive in assisting owners by advising on pre-loading surveys of project cargoes. When and where required, our consultants attend during the loading operations to ensure the stowage and securing arrangements are in accordance with statutory requirements and the vessel's own documentation.
Container Casualty Management
At Brookes Bell we have a wealth of experience investigating and advising on the management and control of container ship casualties. We have been appointed to act on behalf of owners, charterers, managers and their legal teams during some of the major container ship casualties in recent years (MSC NAPOLI, MSC FLAMINIA, MOL COMFORT, etc.).
Our team of experienced Master Mariners, Marine Engineers, Cargo Scientists, Fire Investigators and Naval Architects are ready to work as a team during the early stages of an incident to gather all the relevant information and provide advice on hazardous cargoes, recommended ports of refuge, and thereafter container monitoring during off-loading.
One of the benefits of our experience in this type of casualty management is that we are able to streamline the operation in order to make the subsequent reporting and data assessment more cost effective and efficient for our clients.