Turnover Duty Law and Legal Definition

Turnover duty refers to a ship owner’s obligation to remedy hazardous working conditions for long shore workers. The turnover duty, relates to the condition of the ship upon the commencement of the stevedoring operations. Pursuant to the turnover duty, the vessel must turn over the ship to the stevedore in such a condition that an expert stevedore acting with reasonable care can conduct cargo operations safely. Under turnover duty, the vessel has a duty to turn the ship over to the longshoremen in a safe condition for unloading. This turnover duty requires that a vessel must exercise ordinary care under the circumstances to turn over the ship and its equipment and appliances in such condition that an expert and experienced stevedoring contractor, mindful of the dangers should reasonably expect to encounter. As part of ordinary care in relation to the turnover duty, a vessel must inspect the ship for hazards before turning the ship over to the stevedore, because inspection is integral to providing the stevedore with a reasonably safe workplace. To determine whether a vessel has satisfied its duty to inspect the ship for hazards before turning the ship over to the stevedore, a court must determine whether there was a hazard or dangerous condition that the vessel owner had a duty to address in inspecting the vessel.[Williams v. Precious Cliffs, Ltd., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85563 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 22, 2006)].