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Maritime Law--The Legal Ramifications of Hard-A-Port

Brought to my attention by our friends at Shiptalk Ltd is a video of the Hapag-Lloyd containership COLOMBO EXPRESS turning hard-a-port into the MAERSK TANJONG. Both vessels were heading south through the Suez Canal, with the COLOMBO EXPRESS seemingly attempting to overtake the MAERSK TANJONG. Then about 2 1/2 minutes into the seemingly normal maneuver and with no warning at all, the overtaking vessel lurches to port and slammed its bow into the side of the unsuspecting Maersk vessel.
Hapag-Lloyd noted in a statement there were no injuries or pollution as a result of the incident. A Maersk Line spokesperson said that three containers were lost over the side from their ship. You can watch the video here => Containership Collision. While I do not speak fluent Arabic, people can be heard shouting off-camera as the two vessels gradually crash. Three shipping containers fell into the water as a result of the impact, and the COLOMBO EXPRESS was also left with a 65-foot dent, Reuters reports. No causalities were reported.

Photograph taken from

The Suez Canal in Egypt connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, allowing ships sailing between Europe and Asia to bypass traveling around Africa. It is one of the most heavily used trade routes on the globe, providing reportedly providing the country with roughly $5 billion in annual revenue, according to Reuters. Ship traffic was reportedly halted in the Canal for three hours.

It is reported that both ships had pilots on board and would have been speaking by radio to each other during the passage. Any thoughts on legal causation? If you do, send me an email at


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