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