Flotilla Principle Law and Legal Definition

Flotilla principle is a method of calculating the ceiling of liability in the event of loss while ships are under tow, using the tonnage of all ships in the flotilla. The liability of a ship is usually limited on the basis of tonnage. Under this method, the owners of heavier ships are exposed to greater liability. However, this method often creates confusion in situations where damage occurs during towage, with ships in a flotilla arrangement. In cases where ships are owned by different persons and damage occurs as a result of the towing ship, question arises whether the liability be calculated based on the towing shi), the ship being towed, or on the basis of aggregate tonnage. Hence, the flotilla principle is not favored by many jurists due to the inherent flaw of gauging liability on the basis of tonnage of all ships in the flotilla. However, the principle is held to be applicable where all the ships involved in the flotilla which were towed and towing, belong to the same owner; and, where all the ships in the flotilla contribute to the negligence causing the damage.