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Oliver Powell instructed in River Thames collision resulting in £1.6m of damage


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Oliver Powell, instructed by Chris Newton and Alex Penberthy of Keoghs, appeared at Southwark Crown Court in relation to an investigation by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency into breaches under s.58 and s.100 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 (‘MSA 1995’).

Oliver appeared on behalf of London Party Boats Limited, the owner of the Jewel of London (‘the Vessel’), who pleaded guilty to unsafe operation of a ship contrary to s.100 MSA 1995. Mr Wakefield, the master of the Vessel, was separately represented and pleaded guilty to conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals contrary to s.58 MSA 1995.

The case concerned the Vessel colliding with the Metropolitan Police Service Marine Unit workshop pontoon, near Wapping.  As the Vessel pulled off the pontoon following its collision, it then hit a moored Police vessel with its rear starboard quarter. The collision caused considerable damage to both the pontoon and to the police vessel. Southwark Crown Court heard that the pontoon was used to respond to terror threats and other emergencies along 56 miles of the Thames, and that it would cost up to £1.6 million to repair. Two police officers were onboard the police vessel at the time of the collision.  Although the vessel was badly damaged, mercifully the Police Officers were uninjured. It later transpired that there was no dedicated lookout in the wheelhouse at the time when the vessel was underway.

Oliver was retained at the outset of the prosecution, advising the company, as well as drafting and negotiating the basis of plea. At the sentencing hearing, Oliver successfully argued against the MCA’s submission that this was a case of high culpability against the company. HHJ Bartle QC saw merit in Oliver’s submissions, and accepted that the case straddled the low and medium culpability brackets. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £15,225 towards the MCA’s investigation and legal costs.

The matter was reported in, amongst others, the Daily Mail, the Metro and the Sun.

Oliver is a leading junior at the Bar for maritime regulatory work, with an authoritative specialism in marine & fisheries. His marine experience covers all types of vessels. He receives instructions from a variety of different individuals and organisations. These include: charterers, owners, operators, International Transport Workers’ Federation, Masters, P&I Clubs, MCA, PLA and IFCAs.

Outer Temple Chambers continues to show its strength in maritime regulatory work, with members providing an authoritative specialism in marine & fisheries law.

Should you require further information about Oliver, or if you would like to instruct him, please contact Nicholas Levett.


Barristers: Oliver Powell
Categories: News