Bangkok to bailiff

A large ship management company was asked, as a favour, to provide a master /skipper to a yacht to be sailed from Thailand to Spain. No formal contract was in place between the member and the owners of the yacht. Members simply brought the two parties together on an informal, one-time fee basis.

After many delays with the commencement of the voyage and the yacht still being in Thailand, the yacht owners claimed that the master was both unsuitable to undertake the voyage and negligent in performing what was reasonably expected from him. As a result of his alleged negligence, the yacht owners sustained certain damages including loss of earnings and enjoyment.

The yacht owner brought a claim and ITIC appointed lawyers, with yachting experience, to defend the member’s position. ITIC and the manager believed the claim to have been exaggerated, as it was not supported by any real evidence or documentation. However the claimant continued to pursue the claim.

The court held that the ship manager had not properly checked the master’s references and consequently the manager had not fulfilled their duty as they were requested to do.

However, the court also held that there was no causation between the breach by the managers and the alleged damage. The court also held that the claimants could not prove, or sufficiently demonstrate, that had the references been properly checked and the master screened, the results of that checking would not have led to the master being chosen.

As a result the claim against the ship manager was denied and the yacht owner was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. The next step was to enforce the judgment by serving it on the yacht owner. When payment wasn’t made, the bailiff collected the funds from the owner.

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