Successful Mediation to Ensure Prompt Compensation for Casualty Caused by Collision between Fishing Boat and Foreign Vessel
In March last year, a Vietnamese oil tanker collided with a fishing boat of Lingao County in the adjacent sea areas of Yangpu and Beibu Gulf, during which Xie felt overboard and was missing. After three months’ fruitless effort in the search of the missing crew, in February this year, upon the application of the bereaved, Haikou Maritime Court made a judgment to announce the death of Xie according to law. Later, the crew’s family lodged a personal damage compensation lawsuit before the Court.
During home visit, the handling judge learnt that the victim only left a bereaved mother in her nineties and a widow with one son and two daughers, who had no other source of income and were trapped in a tough financial state. To avoid the lengthy trial process that involved foreign vessel which might get the family into a worse situation, the handling judge decided to make all efforts to resolve the case by means of mediation. After finding out the facts of the collision and ascertaining the liability for the accident, the judge actively coordinated the interests of the Vietnamese shipowner, UK P&I Club and the guarantor, and finally worked out a reasonable and feasible mediation plan. Finally, the plaintiff was able to get sufficient indemnification within a short time, and the foreign vessel was able to continue to trade in the Chinese sea areas. The impartial and efficient judicial work of the Court was highly regarded by the parties concerned.
In recent years, Haikou Maritime Court has been actively applying mediation to resolve similar cases of dispute over compensation for personal damage at sea, and up to 40% of similar cases are resolved by means of mediation, which help to console the bereaved by securing prompt personal damage compensation and maintain social harmony. Following the kickoff of the construction of the Free Trade Port, Haikou Maritime Court will further apply the diversified dispute resolution schemes and handle admiralty and maritime cases involving foreign elements and people’s livelihood according to law with equal protection of the legitimate rights and interests of both the Chinese and foreign parties, so as to provide better and more efficient maritime judicial service to advance the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port and to improve the business environment.