Tanker Owner Owes $44.6 Million Over 2017 Fatal Collision With US Guided Missile Destroyer

On Wednesday, a US judge said the owner of an oil tanker has to pay the US $44.6 million due to its role in a collision that took between the 39,000 metric ton tanker and a US Navy destroyer in 2017 in Southeast Asia. The accident had taken the lives of 10 sailors and reportedly injured dozens more.

Paul Crotty, the US District Judge, found Energetic Tank Inc responsible for 20% and the US responsible for almost 80% in the 2017 collision between the Alnic tanker and U.S.S. John S. McCain.

The vessels were cruising beside one another. That is when the McCain, a guided-missile destroyer that was attending to a routine port call and nearing Singapore, veered left. Alnic’s bow pierced the broadside of McCain, making the destroyer flood.

Tanker collision
Representation Image

Energetic Tank, which has an office in Monrovia in Liberia, sought to hold the US responsible for this collision, which resulted in a damage of about $185 million to McCain and about $442,445 to the Alnic.

The US concluded that the McCain bore some blame, but the Alnic had also played a crucial role.

Crotty ruled after a non-jury trial in November 2021.

The $44.6 million also includes interest.

Absent objections, a second trial will reportedly apportion the compensation money to families of victims, the judge mentioned. Forty-one deaths or claims of personal injuries had been filed.
Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor the lawyers responded to requests for comment right away.

Paul Hofmann, a lawyer for some claimants, declared the “well-considered” decision is likely to prove some recompense to families and sailors who suffered major injuries.

In 2019, the National Transportation Safety Board had reportedly said that the likely cause of the collision was the US Navy’s lack of optimum operational oversight of the destroyer. According to them, that had resulted in inadequate bridge operating processes and insufficient training. It recommended adopting stringent safety measures.

This case is In re Energetic tank Inc as the proprietor of M/V Alnic MC, for Limitation of Liability or Exoneration from, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-01359.

Reference: Claims Journal

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