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Are MAIB reports admissible in arbitration?

Owners of Ocean Prefect were bringing a claim for unsafe port against charterers, after she grounded twice in Umm Al Quwain. Owners were alleging that pilots were not properly trained and had inadequate knowledge of the port. They wanted to refer to the MAIB report, which had highlighted this, in their claim against charterers.

Court started by looking at the purpose of MAIB (which was established in 1989 following the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster). It was to prevent similar accidents in the future through the ascertainment of causes, and not to determine liability or to apportion blame. Those who give evidence to MAIB are protected from their evidence being used against them in subsequent legal proceedings. As per the court owners' commercial interests do not outweigh the likely prejudice to future accident safety investigations & those who are asked in any future investigation to provide information may be reluctant to do so (as per MAIB it goes to great lengths to reassure witnesses that their testimony is protected). Chapter 25.4 of IMO Code supported this view.

Next question was is the arbitration within the definition of "judicial proceedings? As per the court it was.

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