Collisions Involving Tugs and Tows

This Article examines the negligence principles that govern an action arising out of a collision involving a tug and its tow. First, it canvasses the navigational duties imposed on the tug. Specifically, tug unseaworthiness, towlines of improper length, and tugmaster ignorance may give rise to liability. The Article also briefly presents the duties imposed on towed vessels. Next, the Article explores negligence clauses in tug-tow contracts and concludes that contractual provisions that absolve tugboat owners of negligence liability are against public policy and therefore invalid. The Article explores the liability of the tug and tow when a third party is involved in the collision and concludes by examining practical steps to deal with human error disasters as a means of collision prevention.