Boat explosion caused by negligent repairs
Mr Ireland launched his outboard boat from a boat ramp at Port Hinchinbrook. He then started the the outboard motor and a fire broke out which severely damaged the motor. Mr Ireland suffered a debilitating psychiatric injury (including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and a neck injury as a result of that.
He brought a claim against B&M Outboard Repairs who were a marine repairs business. They had recommended and installed an electric fuel pump to try to fix a fuel starvation issue. New fuel lines were placed above one of the two marine batteries.
The matter went to trial in the Supreme Court. There was conflicting evidence as to the cause of the fire. Ultimately the court accepted the expert called by Mr Ireland and found that there had been a fuel leak, that the leak was most likely caused by a failure in the fuel line (through ineffective clamps) and that the fire was ignited by a spark from the battery.
The marine repairers were found to be negligent for recommending and installing the pump in the manner they did, which led to the fire. The court also considered that through the arrangements in place (payment for serves) a contract was in existence between Mr Ireland and the marine repairers and that the repairers had breached their contract by acting in the manner they did.
The court awarded Mr Ireland the sum of $703,721.
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For more details read the full version of the court judgment:
Our in-house authority on Maritime Law, Donna was asked for her opinion regarding the case and she replied, “This is a unique case where existing laws were questioned and a clearer definition of the law was created as an outcome of this particular event. It’s important we remember there were people involved and I hope they all can put this chapter behind them.”
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