Our areas of expertise

Nautical: collision, grounding, navigation, towage, salvage, vessel performance

Shipboard technology: damage, stability (capsize, sinking), extent of damage and repairs (costs), bunker fuel problems (quantities and quality-related damage)

Goods: handling, stowage, storage and the care of all kinds of goods, liquid or solid, specifications, disputes relating to documents

Portrelated activities: stevedoring, stevedoring (labour) accidents, including transport to or from the port.

Economic: causes and circumstances of disputes between parties to charters, sequestration of ships and goods, 

The Nautical Commission is, like the shipping industry itself, available 24/7 all year round and investigations can be carried out anywhere in the world.

The history of the “Nautical Commission”

Founded in 1802 further to French decrees of 1779 and 1791 which provided that the seaworthiness of a ship must be verified before sailing and the cause of damage must be investigated, and the establishment of a commercial court at Antwerp by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Today, the main activity of the members of the Nautical Commission is to carry out independent, objective and neutral investigations into the causes and circumstances of nautical and maritime incidents at the request of the Belgian Courts.

By nautical incidents are meant accidents at sea, in inland navigation and the fisheries which may have arisen from navigation error, technical failure, non-compliance with regulations or contraventions of the rules of good seamanship. The remit also extends to following up the necessary repairs.

The term maritime incidents covers accidents that occur in port, damage to all kinds of merchandise,  damage resulting from the maritime adventure, including pre and post-voyage carriage and storage, as well as documentary disputes. The damage is often both extensive and complex so that the follow up of repairs and the calculation of the extent of the damage is often also requested.

We also manage the sequestration of vessels, cargoes and documents, and advise authorities.

All members of the “Nautical Commission to the Court of Commerce Antwerp” are Master Mariners and have held command on merchant vessels. They are partners in the cooperative cooperation that was founded in 1991 as the successor to the former organization.

They can draw on the extensive experience of all members for complex nautical-technical investigations.

Technical specialists may be consulted subject to the agreement of the parties to the investigation.

The independence of the members is enshrined in the articles of association, which makes the Nautical Commission quite unique.

(Court =  Court of First Instance comprising the Court of Commerce and the Criminal Courts, the Court of Appeal)