PILOT LIABILITY IS LIMITED
The movement of large vessels within any port necessarily creates the risk of incident and potential for very substantial damage. Parties involved in such activities are logically concerned with the risk of liability should damage occur. Pilots are no exception; however, pilots do not carry liability insurance. The cost of such insurance would add significantly to the pilot’s costs and thus pilotage fees charged. The vessels which utilize pilotage already carry very substantial liability insurance coverage and it would not be cost efficient for vessel owners and operators who hire pilots to in effect pay twice for insurance coverage. Pilots are subject to scrutiny by Federal and State licensing agencies for any fault in performing pilotage services, and any possible benefit to recipients of pilots services as a result of a pilot’s exposure to tort liability is likewise redundant.
Therefore, the members of the Pascagoula Bar Pilots Association do not carry liability insurance relying upon the pilot liability limitations and hold harmless provisions authorized by the Port of Pascagoula Tariff. Pilot fees as established by the Port of Pascagoula are computed based in part upon this fact.
This arrangement is efficient and equitable. The Vessel owners and operators are knowledgeable regarding these issues. Prior to the adoption of this tariff, it was thought that Rule 420 of the Pascagoula Port Authority Tariff, without more, provided protection to the pilots from liability claims without the need for a separate tariff from the Bar Pilots. Recent developments have changed that understanding, and therefore the pilots have incorporated the terms and provisions of Rule 420 of the Port of Pascagoula Tariff in this tariff.
Pilots Do Not Maintain Liability Insurance
The rates and charges named in this Tariff do not include marine insurance insuring the vessel, its owners, agents or operators from the consequences of negligence or errors in judgment of the particular pilot supplying the services.
Request for Pilotage Shall Constitute a Binding Agreement as to The Role of the Pilot and Limitation on Pilot Liability
The election of the vessel, its master, owners, agents or operators to have the pilots, parties hereto, perform services at the rates and charges specified herein shall constitute a binding and irrevocable agreement, on the part of the vessel, its master, owners, agents or operators to the terms and conditions of the following:
The Master of the Ship Remains in Full Command and Control of the Vessel,
Pilot Services Are Advisory
It is understood and agreed, and is the essence of the contract, under which services of the pilot are tendered to and accepted by the vessel, its master and owners, that:
1. The services rendered hereunder are rendered by a pilot duly and regularly licensed by the Jackson County Port Authority pursuant to Rule 405 of this tariff.
2. Such services are advisory in nature only, the master of the vessel remaining at all times in full command of the vessel.
Pilot Liability Is Limited. Except for Gross Negligence or Wilful Disregard, the Vessel Agrees That it Will Not Look to the Pilot(s) for Damages and Will Indemnify and Hold the Pilot Harmless from
Claims Arising from His Pilotage of the Vessel
3. The services of the pilot are accepted on the express understanding that when he goes aboard the vessel the pilot becomes the servant of the vessel and its owners and operators, and the master, owners and operators of the vessel expressly covenant and agree not to assert any personal liability against the pilot to respond in damages (including any rights over) arising out of or connected with, directly or indirectly, any damage, loss or expense sustained by the vessel, its master, owners, operators, and crew, and any third parties, even through resulting from acts or omissions of the pilot in respect to the handling of the vessel; and provided, further, that to the extent only to which liability is legally imposed against the vessel, taking into consideration any limitation thereof to which the vessel or its owners is entitled by reason of contract, bills of lading or any statement or rule of law in force, the said master, owners and operators further covenant and agree to indemnify and hold harmless the pilot in respect to any liability arising out of suits or actions directly against the pilot by third parties by reason of errors or omissions of the pilot in the performance of pilotage services; exception, however, such personal liability and rights over as may arise by reason of the willful misconduct or gross negligence of the pilot; and
4. The fees charged for the services rendered by the pilot under this agreement have been computed and are assessed in accordance with and based upon the above stipulations.
This Limitation on Pilot Liability shall not apply to damages arising from a Pilot’s wilful misconduct or gross negligence.
SUPPLEMENTAL CONTRACTS AND NOTICE OF LIABILITY LIMITATION
Supplemental Contracts for the Limitation of Pilot Liability
To further confirm the Limitation of Liability provided by tariff, Pilots may submit contracts to vessel owners, charterers, masters, etc repeating the limitation on liability as set out herein. Such written agreements are supplemental and cumulative and the utilization of such contract in one instance and not in another is in no way a waiver of the application of this limitation of liability as to all pilotage services by the Pascagoula Bar Pilots.
In addition, the Pascagoula Bar Pilots Association has undertaken to send notice to parties who are expected to request pilotage services. Whether or not a separate notice is sent to a vessel owner and whether or not a separate contract is signed, the terms of this tariff and this exculpation from and limitation on liability as contained in this tariff will be binding on all vessels, vessel owners, vessel operators utilizing the services of these Bar Pilots.