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Ships Collision Accident Handling Check List

It is important while navigating ship the officer of the watch understands practical procedures to avoid collision guided by masters standing orders. Below procedures for handling ships collision accident handling check list are only indicative, not exhaustive in nature and one must always be guided by practices of good seamanship.

Prepare record in time series

For the time of the accident in particular, the following matters must be recorded :

a. Exact time of the collision and the ships position

b. Positions of watchmen before the collision (on the bridge and at the bow).

c. Conditions of the navigation lights, and fog signals before the collision.
(Time when sound signals were sent or heard.) . Also any VHF exchanges prior and after collision.

d. Conditions of use of steering gear and engine and the helm/speed before the collision.

e. If bow thruster in operation , its rate of power at that time

f. The.its movement after that.

g. The time, direction, distance and appearance at the time when the opponent ship or her light was recognized for the first time, and conditions of lights around the spot of the collision.

h. The actions of the vessel including the course, maneuvering signals and speed, and the movement of the other ship.

i. Heading direction of both ships, the angle of the collision, which portion of the hull collided, and use of anchors at the collision.

j. Weather ,sea conditions , visibility ,tidal currents ,at the time of collision.

k. If under pilotage, any communication from pilot with bridge personnel or shore

l. Short description of radar settings

m. Degree of damage to both vessels.

n. Measures taken after the collision and means, time and results of lifesaving activities (in time series).

o. Eye-witness statements from ship staff taken immediately and any photos/videos taken by crew

Names of any other vessels having witnessed the collision and their approximate positions

Submit the claim notice and have the opponent party sign the notice. And if it is unavoidable to sign the claim notice of the opponent party, be sure to affix a remark, I received your Claim Notice without prejudice or This is not an admission of liability in the notice.

Do not allow the opponent vessels interest (their lawyers, surveyors etc) to interview the crew or take records of the vessel, unless permitted by Company Inform Company, coastal marine safety organization ( if in their waters)



Damage survey by the vessel hands and emergency measures

Survey collision damage, (later) prepare a rough sketch of the damage and inspect the cargo for damage/confirm content in cargo tanks.

Sound tanks and bilges in affected areas

If any flooding, close watertight doors and openings and start discharging operation. If the breakage is small, take waterproofing measures (using blankets, tarpaulins, cement box, wooden plugs, shoring and the like).

In serious flooding in E/R, use Bilge Injection system

Isolate cargo , fuel, and ballast pipeline sources to affected areas of vessel

If the breakage is above waterlines, take waterproofing measures against sea spray.

If the breakage is on the Fore Peak Tank, adjust speed so that excessive pressure will not be applied to the collision bulkhead

Consider filling opposite end tank to offset list/trim caused by flooding

Compare the flooding rate with the discharging capacity.
If flooding rate is greater, consider the possibility of loss of buoyancy.

If loss of buoyancy is likely to occur, consider where to intentionally strand the vessel


Confirming details on the other ship

Ships name, type, gross tonnage, Masters name, Ship owner and operator Port of registry, Cargo, last port and next port


Securing documents for evidence

It is often demanded to submit the originals of the following documents to the authorities, so make their copies at an early stage. Consult with the Company before submission).

Charts and the deck logbook/bell book

Record paper for the course recorder. (Since replacing paper usually produces a time lag of one to two minutes, it is recommended to affix on the paper the time of its removal for easier check of the time in the future).

Record paper for the telegraph logger and the bell book.

Capture the Voyage Data Recorder data

STCW records of working and rest hours of Master, officers and crew on duty

Drug & Alcohol Test of involved ships personnel

Statement of fact by pilot if on board




Various investigations

Access control as per SSP must be maintained at all times.

Render full cooperation in the investigations by lawyers, surveyors , P&I correspondents who are appointed for own vessel.

Reject investigation by the opponent surveyor unless permitted by Company. However, surveys on hull and cargo ( known as W.P. survey) are permitted but limited to only checking extent of damages and no more.

Master should fully cooperate with interviews by a Flag or Coastal State Administration by giving them honest and accurate answers (or such signed statement).

NO statements to the media shall be given by the vessels except company permission. Politely refer media to Company.


Conclusion of salvage (TOWAGE) contract

Confirm type and details of the salvage contract. (Does the contract meet the vessels request or the instructions from the Company?).

Confirm where and when the contract will expire.

Conclusion of a towage agreement

Confirm type and details of the towage contract.

(Confirm that the contract is a mere towage contract and that the towing operation is to be carried out under the command of the Master of the vessel).

Confirm where the contract will expire.

Recording during salvage (TOWING) operation

Record weather and sea conditions continually during the salvage (towing) operation.

The time of arrival of the salvage (towing) party, name of salvage boats, the time of signature on the salvage (towage) contract.

Details of discussions between the salvage (towing) party and the vessel side.

Detailed work at each step of the operation, and the type and quantity of the used materials.

Recording the work done by the vessel, course, distance, use of the engine and the like.

The date, time and place of the completion of the salvage (towing) operation.


Legal assistance - Appointment of Company Solicitor

The Company may appoint a solicitor after an incident involving liability and/or third parties to act on behalf of Owners and Underwriters in order to investigate the incident. If this decision is made, the Master will be immediately notified and given details of the lawyer attending. The ship’s personnel must not discuss the incident with anyone other than the lawyer.

In certain countries, a civil authority may be given the responsibility of investigating the incident. In such a circumstance it is in order to discuss the case with the civil authority investigator but, if possible, any discussion is to be delayed until the arrival of the Company’s solicitor.


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Guideline for salvage of another ship after colliding with own vessel

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