Be Skeptical of Rigid ‘In Extremis’ Dogma Beyond COLREGS
Professional Mariner, vol. 162, at 42-46 (Oct./Nov. 2012)
6 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2011 Last revised: 4 Oct 2012
Date Written: December 3, 2011
In marine collision law, the in extremis doctrine is commonly thought to include three concepts: (1) a definition of the “in extremis situation,” by which is meant a situation where two vessels have approached so closely that collision can no longer be avoided by one ship acting alone; (2) a release from strict compliance with the Collision Regulations when necessary to avoid immediate danger; and (3) the more lenient standard of care applied in the subsequent legal proceedings to an innocent vessel that was confronted with a sudden emergency that did not allow time for a carefully considered decision before taking avoiding action.
This paper explores the two theoretical approaches to collision avoidance maneuvers when a vessel finds itself in extremis. The first is the "universal rules" approach developed by Commander Davis Lott, a former naval officer. The second approach rejects the proposition that maneuvers can be determined in advance.
Keywords: collision, ships, in extremis
JEL Classification: L91, L92, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation