Wagon Mound No 2

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Citation: Overseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Miller Steamship Co Pty Ltd (The "Wagon Mound" (No 2)) [1967] 1 AC 617

This information can be found in the Textbook: Sappideen, Vines, Grant & Watson, Torts: Commentary and Materials (Lawbook Co, 10th ed, 2009), pp. 519-21 [13.175] or here


Background facts

  • Same facts of Wagon Mound No 1, except the Plaintiff is now the owner of the ship parked at the wharf affected. The ship suffered damage as a result of the fire.

Legal issues


  • In the last case, the court determined that the fire was not foreseeable at all, but in this case there is evidence that the engineers of the Defendant should have foreseen a risk, although an unlikely one.
  • So how is reasonable foreseeability defined - is an unlikely risk too remote?
  • Bolton v Stone[1] distinguished between cases where the possibility of the risk was so far-fetched that no reasonable man would have done anything to cases in which the risk is material.
  • This means that harm is reasonably foreseeable if it isn't "thought to be physically impossible or because the possibility of its happening would have been regarded as so fantastic or farfetched that no reasonable man would have paid any attention to itimpossible."
  • In this case, the risk was more than far fetched, it should have been foreseeable that measures should be taken against oil dripping into the water in large quantities.


  1. [1951] AC 850
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