Finding the ‘Ship’: Guardian Offshore AU PTY LTD V SAAB Seaeye Leopard 1702 Remotely Operated Vehicle [2020] FCA 273

Alan John Sylvain de Rochefort-Reynolds


The Federal Court of Australia recently considered the novel question of whether a marine remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was a 'ship' for the purposes of the Admiralty Act 1988 (Cth) ('Act'). In Guardian Offshore AU Pty Ltd v Saab Seaeye Leopard 1702 Remotely Operated Vehicle, Colvin J found that it was not as the ROV did not possess the 'usual attributes' of a ship. While the usual attributes approach may be questioned, the decision does clarify the meaning of 'used in navigation' and enhance understanding of the position of novel vessels under the Act.

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