Our Shipping and Admiralty team has achieved an extraordinary result in high-profile case “MSC SHENZHEN”. Our firm defended experienced senior Pilot, Jose Luis de Cea, in several multimillion claims filed by shipyard CERNAVAL and the ship owners following her collision and oil spill when entering the dry dock in the Bay of Algeciras.
In a landmark judgment, the Commercial Court of Cadiz ruled that the Pilot had no liability whatsoever as the accident was caused due to the lack of proper fences at the yard’s dry dock, coupled with the fact that the vessel entered the yard with her bunkers storage tanks full. The decision will be of considerable interest to the maritime community and will have significant ramifications for vessels entering shipyard and the rules to be observed during the manoeuvre. The claims were all together fully dismissed with costs. Both claimants decided not to appeal the judgment.
This matter had a very important significance for our firm as the accident happened when the Pilot was close to retirement, after an exceptional professional lifetime record, and we did feel obliged to defend his honour.
As our Partner Carlos Perez pointed out in his closing oral submissions at the 3-day-trial:
“Finally, your Honour, I would like to stress that in these proceedings you are not only considering purely economic claims, but also, and more importantly as far as we are concerned, the reputation of a Pilot with an impeccable and flawless professional career".