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South Africa: MSC Susanna – Naval vessels and right to limit liability

18 November 2021
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On the morning of 10 October 2017, a sudden and violent storm ripped through Durban, causing widespread destruction, loss of life and momentary chaos in the port.

Numerous ships broke their moorings and collided with others and with port infrastructure. In one incident, the MSC Ines ran aground perpendicular to the entrance to the port, blocking the entrance for some time. Unsurprisingly, a number of these incidents gave rise to litigation on multiple fronts, many of which are still making their way to trial in the South African courts.

Against this background, the Supreme Court of Appeal recently handed down a judgment in MSC Susanna: The Owners and Underwriters of the MSC Susanna v Transnet (SOC) Limited.