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Be Skeptical of Rigid ‘In Extremis’ Dogma Beyond COLREGS

Craig H. Allen

University of Washington - School of Law; UW Arctic Law and Policy Institute

December 3, 2011

Professional Mariner, vol. 162, at 42-46 (Oct./Nov. 2012)

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 6

Keywords: collision, ships, in extremis

JEL Classification: L91, L92, K23

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Date posted: December 3, 2011 ; Last revised: October 4, 2012

Suggested Citation

Allen, Craig H., Be Skeptical of Rigid ‘In Extremis’ Dogma Beyond COLREGS (December 3, 2011). Professional Mariner, vol. 162, at 42-46 (Oct./Nov. 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1967855 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1967855

Contact Information

Craig H. Allen (Contact Author)
University of Washington - School of Law ( email )
William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States
202-616-8302 (Phone)
202-616-4519 (Fax)

UW Arctic Law and Policy Institute ( email )
Campus Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98195-3020
United States
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