Dear Client, sorry to hear about damages to the vessel.
The general rule is that the contractor (the marine storage company) is responsible to the client for the scaffolding works including the part performed by the subcontractor (scaffolders) and is liable for the results of these works. This means that the client would look to claim damages from the marine storage company directly.
In addition, it was the marine storage company’s responsibility, as the main contractor, to ensure that:
- the scaffolding works were carried out by qualified workers and in accordance with Good Industry Practice;
- the scaffolders have an adequate insurance policy in place (if so, the damages may be covered by the scaffolders’ insurers).
However, it is important to check what conditions of the contract between the client and the marine storage company are: if there is a clause that states that the marine storage company is not liable for all acts and omissions of its sub-contractors. Such a clause would make things more difficult and further clarification on the other conditions of the contract needed.
As a first steps, the client shall send a letter to the marine storage company asking for repairment or money compensation. The cost of repairs shall be estimated first to give certain figures in the letter. If the marine storage company refuses, the second step will be sending them an official letter before claim (a solicitor’s help me be needed at this stage), giving 14 – 30 days to rectify the damage. If the marine storage company ignores the letter before claim, the court proceedings are initiated and the party at fault may need to pay the other party’s legal costs. In practice, the contractor usually pays damages (or makes repairs) soon after the letter before claim is received.
Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask me further questions if you have any.
Julia Ustinovskaya, solicitor