UK: How Do You Calculate Loss Of Earnings Following A Collision?

Last Updated: 14 April 2014
Article by Michael Volikas, Jeremy Biggs and Beth Bostock

The Owners of the ship Astipalaia v. The Owners and/or Demise Charterers of the ship Hanjin Shenzhen [2014] EWHC 120 (Admlty)

This recent case has revisited the existing case law on assessment of damages following a collision and provided further clarification as to the appropriate test to be applied.

The background facts

On 26 March 2008, there was a collision between the fully laden VLCC tanker ASTIPALAIA and the container ship HANJIN SHENZHEN in the approaches to Singapore where ASTIPALAIA was due to discharge. As a result of the collision, ASTIPALAIA suffered damage to her hull, guard rails and mooring chock. ASTIPALAIA was able to proceed into Singapore to discharge her cargo.

At the time of the collision, ASTIPALAIA was trading in the VLCC spot market which, in early-mid 2008, was particularly buoyant and the vessel was acceptable throughout the industry to oil majors and other first class charterers. However, ASTIPALAIA was unfixed for her next employment at the time of the collision.

As a result of the incident, the vessel's oil major approvals were temporarily placed on "technical hold" by the majors pending the usual investigation into the collision. ASTIPALAIA was also required by class to undertake permanent repairs before any further employment.

ASTIPALAIA sailed from Singapore to Dubai in ballast and entered dry dock for permanent repairs which lasted around 10 days. On exiting dry dock, ASTIPALAIA was still unable to resume trading on the VLCC spot market as the "technical hold" had not then been lifted.  In the absence of oil major approvals, ASTIPALAIA was fixed to NITC to be employed as floating storage off Kharg Island, Iran on a 60 day period charter, during which time the "technical holds" were dealt with and lifted. She completed the NITC fixture and was redelivered at Fujairah on 29June 2008, after which she resumed her normal pattern of spot trading.

Accordingly, despite the time in dry dock only lasting some 10 days, ASTIPALAIA was effectively unavailable for her primary trading market for the entire period from 26 March 2008 to 29 June 2008. ASTIPALAIA brought a claim for loss of profits based on what the vessel would have earned had she traded on the normal VLCC spot market during that period, giving credit for the mitigation earnings obtained while on charter as floating storage to NITC. The total amount claimed by ASTIPALAIA was approx. US$ 5,640,000 lost income during that period.

The reference to the Registrar

Following agreement on liability, the quantum of ASTIPALAIA's claim was disputed and referred for determination by the Admiralty Registrar. The Court had to consider how to calculate loss of earnings of ASTIPALAIA in circumstances where: (1) the vessel did not have a specific next fixture concluded at the time of the collision such that there was no certainty as to what the vessel would have earned next, but for the collision; and (2) the vessel's oil major approvals had been placed on "technical hold" and were not reinstated until the end of a less lucrative storage fixture.

ASTIPALAIA's position

ASTIPALAIA's Owners contended that damages should be assessed on the basis that the best evidence of ASTIPALAIA's potential earnings, but for the collision, were that ASTIPALAIA would either: (i) have been fixed to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) with whom they had been negotiating for a West Africa-East Coast India fixture at the time of the collision, after which ASTIPALAIA would have resumed a "typical" spot trading pattern of a round voyage from the Arabian Gulf (AG) to the Far East; or (ii) had Owners not secured the IOC fixture, the vessel would have undertaken two AG-Far East round voyages. Under either alternative, these two hypothetical voyages would have been completed within roughly the same period of time as the detention period, i.e. by 29 June 2008, such that a reasonable comparison could be drawn between what the vessel could have earned during that period, with what she did in fact earn.

ASTIPALAIA's Owners relied on the "time equalisation method" set out in The Vicky 1 [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep 45, which they argued supported their approach of comparing what the vessel would probably have earned but for the collision with what she did in fact earn in the same period. The hypothetical voyage schedule advocated by the ASTIPALAIA's Owners and prepared by their expert sought to provide comparable fixtures she could (but not necessarily would) have performed in the detention period in order to place a value on the vessel's lost earnings. On that basis, ASTIPALAIA claimed damages of approximately US$ 5,640,000.


In the Vicky 1, the claimant tanker owners had lost an actual fixture. HANJIN SHENZHEN's Owners argued that the principles from Vicky 1 only applied if the claimant shipowner had lost a secured fixture, not where there was no definite next business secured.

Their primary case was that the loss period should be split into two distinct periods: (i) the period during which the vessel was completely out of service, when repairs were being completed; and (ii) the period during which she performed the floating storage charter. On that basis, HANJIN SHENZHEN argued that whilst they were liable in damages for lost income for approximately US$ 800,000 for period (i) during the dry docking, by the time of the floating storage charter being entered into after dry docking the spot market had in fact fallen such that no damages were recoverable for period (ii) as the rates achieved under the floating storage business successfully mitigated ASTIPALAIA'S loss.

HANJIN SHENZHEN interests also opposed the "time equalisation method" of seeking to model hypothetical voyages on the basis that it was too speculative to seek to calculate when the vessel might have been back in the AG after the first hypothetical voyage, and what the spot rate might have been at that time for the second hypothetical voyage.

During proceedings, it was accepted by both experts that VLCCs operate in a well-defined and straightforward trading pattern. The largest loading area (around 72% of all VLCC cargoes) is the AG followed by West Africa, with a limited number of cargoes loading in the Caribbean or North Sea/Mediterranean. The Registrar accepted this evidence, and further evidence that, of the 72% of cargoes lifted from the AG, around 70% of those cargoes are for Far East discharge. Accordingly, it could be established on the balance of probabilities what sort of business the vessel most likely would/could have achieved during the total detention period.

The Admiralty Court decision

The Registrar considered and analysed various leading cases, including The Argentino (1888) 13 PD 191 (C/A), 14 App Cas 519 (H/L), The Soya [1956] 1 WLR 714 (C/A) and The Vicky 1 [2008] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 45 (C/A).

Having done so, the Registrar accepted ASTIPALAIA's approach to assessing damages. The Court upheld ASTIPALAIA's argument that the detention period should include not only the repair period but also the additional period the vessel needed to obtain reinstatement of oil major approvals before returning to her normal employment, and that this detention period should be taken as a single period finishing on 29 June 2008, not broken into two parts. The arguments on behalf of HANJIN SHENZHEN that there were principles of law curtailing or precluding such an assessment were rejected.

On the basis of the expert evidence before him, the Registrar assessed damages in the total sum of approx. US$ 4,960,000 (a loss of earnings of US$ 9,860,000 less US$ 4,900,000 earned during the floating storage contract).


This judgment confirms that an owner can claim damages not just for the immediate loss of use of the vessel during the period of repairs but also for further knock-on effects to the vessel's ability to return to normal trading, provided of course that such knock-on effects are not too remote or unforeseeable and that the loss can be proven by evidence.

The judgment also confirms that there is no set rule as to the recoverability of damages for loss of use, and that such recovery is not dependent on proof of a specific lost fixture, nor (if such a fixture is established) that damages are limited to that one fixture but no more. 

While there is no set methodology for calculating loss of profits, the methodologies used in earlier cases may be adapted to suit the facts of each case. The principles applied in this case were ultimately the same as those applied in The Vicky 1 and can be said to represent a recognised and well principled approach to modelling a vessel's likely earnings over a given period which properly takes into account the relevant market position as at the time the hypothetical voyages would have been fixed.

It should be noted, however, that proving one's loss may be more difficult in other trades. The VLCC trade is sufficiently well established and "predictable", with enough data published to allow a meaningful expert analysis of what the vessel could have earned.  It would be more difficult to undertake the same exercise for ships with a more varied and unpredictable trading pattern.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.