Maritime Injury Topics

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» Glossary of Legal Terms T -Z

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Glossary of Legal Terms T - Z

Territorial Waters or Territorial Sea

the waters immediately surrounding the cost of a country that are considered part of that nation. In the United States, the territorial waters (or the territorial sea) extend one league, or three nautical miles from the coastline of the United States.


refers to the weight of the vessel. There are different types of tonnage. Register tonnage refers to the gross tonnage on the ship's registry certificate, for example. Deadweight tonnage is the cargo carrying capacity of the ship. Other measurements of tonnage are also included in maritime law.

Total Loss

occurs when the cost of repairing the damage to a vessel is greater than the market value of the vessel at the time of the accident. Most marine insurers will not pay to fix a vessel if the cost of those repairs exceeds the vessel's fair market value.


a contract in which one vessel is hired to move another vessel. The fee is determined by the contract and the vessel does not need to be in peril. If there is a towage contract, the towing vessel is not entitled to a salvage reward.

Uberrimae Fidei

this phrase is Latin for utmost good faith. It is commonly used with regard to marine insurance and requires the insured to provide full and accurate information to the insurer. If the insured violates this principle the insurer can void the insurance contract and return any monies paid.

Uninspected passenger vessel

applies to vessels of certain sizes (less than 100 gross tons) and with certain passenger requirements (fewer than 6 passengers). The safety inspections for these types of vessels differ from the inspections required by the Coast Guard for larger vessels.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

this Convention was meant to address the 20th Century reality that a nation's interest often extends beyond its navigable waters. It addresses things such as offshore oil drilling, navigation rights, conservation rights and research rights on the high seas.


a vessel that is unfit for its particular voyage. A vessel may be unseaworthy if there are repairs that have not been completed on the ship, if the ship was not properly inspected and has a defect or if there is inadequate crew for the safe navigation of the vessel.

Vallescura Rule

this rule comes out of a 1934 U.S. Supreme Court case, Schnell v. The Vallescura. The rule states that when cargo is lost or damaged for more than one reason, one of which the carrier is responsible for and one for which the carrier is not responsible, the carrier must establish what portion of the loss or damage he is responsible for and if he cannot do so he may be responsible for all of the damage.


any kind of ship, boat, or other vehicle used on the water. The term vessel is generally not limited to large ships or to ships that are engaged in commerce. However, certain maritime laws may add specific elements to the definition of the word vessel.

Vessel Not Under Command

for purposes of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) this term means a vessel that for exceptional reasons is unable to maneuver out of the way of another vessel, as required by the COLREGS. Other vessels must give way to a vessel not under command in most circumstances.

Vessel Restricted in her Ability to Maneuver

a vessel that, because of the nature of the work that the vessel does or because of the way the vessel is made, is unable to change direction, navigate or maneuver out of the way of another vehicle in accordance with the usual rules of navigation.


a trip or journey taken by a vessel on the water. The voyage may be long (as is the case in transatlantic trips, for example) or short like a commuter's trip on a commuter ferry boat. Passengers, crew and captain are all taking part in a voyage when a ship leaves port.


a waybill is a non-negotiable receipt that is used after goods are received by the carrier. The receipt must be clearly marked as non-negotiable. It is a type of bill of lading that is commonly used in maritime trade and commerce.

Western Rivers Rules of Navigation

specific rules of the road that apply to vessels that are traveling on the United State's western rivers. The Act that was found at 33 USC 341 but has been repealed. The Coast Guard is responsible for oversight of navigation rules on the western rivers of the United States.


a vessel that sinks and has become unable to be safely navigated is considered a wreck. Most marine insurance policies have a wreck clause concerning payment for removal of the wreck. Removal of the wreck must be completed as required by law.

Wreck Act

the Act makes clear that a vessel owner has the responsibility to remove a wreck that interferes with the safe navigation of other vessels. If the owner fails to remove the wreck then the owner is liable to the United States government for the cost of removing the wreck.

Zone of Danger

a theory of cruise ship law that allows a plaintiff to recover if s/he was in a zone of danger at the time if an accident, feared for his or her life and suffered emotional injuries that were reasonably foreseeable results of the accident.

Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)

Free PDF overview from 888-GO-LONGY regarding Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)

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Defense Base Act
The Frequently Asked Questions

Our Maritime Injury Lawyer answers the 29 most common Defense Base Act Questions. Continue ...

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