The information was found in the Club's 'Stop Loss' publication for June 2020, issued last week.

In May 2011, the container ship CMA CGM Libra ran aground after departing the Chinese port of Xiamen. It had sailed out of the recognised dredged channel and grounded on a shoal.

The hydrographic authorities knew about the shoal but did not advise users of paper charts until after grounding.

A subsequent High Court hearing ruled that the ship’s passage plan was inadequate as it had not referred to a Preliminary Notice to Mariners (NM6274(P)/10).

This Notice alerted crews to the various ‘no-go’ areas in the port approaches, where the actual depths were less than the charted depths.

Because the bridge team had not marked these areas on the paper chart, the High Court ruled the Owners had failed to exercise due diligence in passage planning. The ship was therefore unseaworthy prior to sailing.

Following appeal, the court upheld the decision that an inadequate passage plan was a cause for unseaworthiness. As such, the cargo interests could not be held liable to contribute in general average.

According to the Club, this decision underlines the need of proper passage planning, including ensuring that charts are corrected and up to date.

Owners are liable if the Master and/ or Second Officer fail to exercise reasonable skill and care when preparing a passage plan which should include all relevant temporary and preliminary Notices to Mariners...Exercising due diligence in passage planning and chart correction will help avoid incidents and costly claims.