ATLAS STEAM-SHIP 00.
ATLAS STEAM-SHIP CO. (limited)". STEAM-SHIP'/COLON.
(Oircuit Oourt, 8. D. New York. July 9, 1880.) 1.
SALVAGE-MEASURE OF COMPENSATION.-It
is the policy of the law to give a proper salvage remuneration to powerful and well-equipped steamers which render service in saving property that is in peril at sea; but the true character of the individual service must be looked at under the circumstances of each particular case. Held, under the circumstances of this case, that the salvage compensation awarded was adequate and liberal.
Et;erett P. Wheeler, for libellant. Thomas E. Stillman, for claimant. BLATCHFORD, C. J. The steam-ship Colon was one of a regular line of stea:mers, owned by the claimant, running between New York and Colon. She left New York on the seventeenth of August, 187'6, bound for Colon, with 140 pasand a crew of '74: men, all told. She was a screwsteamer, bUilt of iron, of 2,686 tons burden, full brig rigged,. carrying two courses, two lower top-sails, two upper top-sails, two top-gallant sails, two spencers, forestay sail, main·stay sail, and jib. Her spread of canvas was about 2,200 yards. Her engines were compound engines. She intended to go by the way of the Crooked island passage. On the twentieth of August, about 11 o'clock in the forenoon, she broke her lowpressure crank-shaft in the crank. By the accident two men were killed, the four columns which supported the low"pressme and high-pressure cylinders were broken, and other parts of the machinery were badly damaged. The damage was such that it could not be repaired at sea, and. the master decided to make for the port of New York under sail, the propeller being useless. At the time of the accident the vessel was about in latitude 28 degrees 17 minutes north, and longitude 74: degrees west from Greenwich. She was distant about 731 miles from New York, and miles from the nearest port, which was Nassall' New Providence. Savannah was dist,ant 420 miles, and
Havana about the same distance. In any of those ports the engines could have been repaired. Anchorage could have been found at Watling's island, 248 miles distant, and at Little Bird rock, 326 miles distant. The Colon could have made any of those ports under sail. Aside from the breaking of her machinery, she was entirely stout, staunch, and seaworthy. About half an hour after the accident, the Colon was got under all sail, and her master attempted to wear; but, her propeller not being disconnected, he was unable to do so, and she made head way to the southward about a knot and a half an hour, and drifted to the eastward at about the same rate. The prevailing winds at that season of the year, and in the vicinity where she was, were more favorable for her to proceed to New York, or to some northern port, than to a West India port. It would probably have taken her fourteen days to reach New York under sail alone. The master of the Colon was exceptionably competent, and had had a wide experience in steam-vessels. For 27 years he had navigated that part of the ocean through which the Colon's route lay. He had frequently tested the ability of the Colon to make headway under sail, and had found she was entirely manageable with the wind on her beam or abaft the beam. These tests were made while the screw was connected with the shaft. The screw of the Colon was attached to the shaft in such a manner that it could be disconnected in less than two hours, and, when disconnected, it would revolve freely and would not interfere with the steering of the vessel. With the screw disconnected the vessel could sail within six points of the wind. At the time of the accident the weather was pleasant and the sea smooth, and the wind light from west-south-west. The part of the ocean where the Colon lay disabled was much frequented by both steam and sail vessels. Steamers running to and fro between New York and Aspinwall passed in the immediate vicinity. So did steamers from the Spanish main, bound to Cadiz and ports in Spain and France. So did sailing vessels bound to and from New Orleans, Mobile, and Havana. The Colon had fresh
ATLAS STEA.M-SHIP 00.
provisions and ice sufficient for four or five weeks, and salt provisions, among her stores, sufficient for five months. She carried also in her cargo large quantities of flour, salt meat, and preserved provisions. Her cargo was worth $250,000, and none of it was of a perishable nature. Shortly after the accident a French brig was boarded by the master of the Colon. The brig offered her services, but they were declined. She could have assisted the Colon in getting her head around to the northward, which the Colon was unable to do unassisted, with the wind as it was, and with her screw connected with the shaft. Owing to the accident to her machinery, it was not convenient for the Colon to detail men to disconnect the screw until the morning of the 22d. Towards 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and about five hours after the accident, the Colon sighted the steam-ship Etna, distant about 10 miles; and soon after hoisted the signal "B. N. D.," which signified that she wished to communi· cate close. The Etna changed her course and bore for the Colon, and reached her, and the master of the Colon put out a small boat and boarded the Etna. The Etna was an iron steamship of 1,274' tons burden, owned by the libellant, and running regularly between New York and West India ports. She had left Kingston, Jamaica, on the seventeenth of August, bound for New York, where she was due on August 24th, in the afternoon. She carried 39 passengers and a crew of 33 men, all told. Her cargo was worth about $100,000, and a small portion of it consisted of fresh fruits. The Etna was worth about $100,000. The master of the Colon had an interview with the master of the Etna on board of the Etna, and told him that the machinery of the Colon was dis. abled, and that he wished the Etua to tow him back to New York. After some negotiation it was agreed that the Etna would undertake the service. The subject of compens,ation was mentioned, and, at the suggestion of the master of the Colon, it was agreed that that should be left to be determined by the parties in interest in New York, and an agreement in writing was drawn up, and was signed by the two masters, as follows:
"At sea, August 20,1876, lat. 28 deg.17min. N., long. 74 deg. W., on board steam-ship Etna. We, the undersigned, do hereby agree as follows: The P. M. S. S. Colon, being disabled as to her machinery, but in other respects tight, staunch, and strong, asks the Atlas S. S. Etua to tow her, the Colon, to New York. The undersigned, Captain S. P. Griffin, of the Colon, stipulates that compensation for the assistance to be rendered shall be settled by the companies in interest in New York; and the undersigned, Captain J. W. Sansom, of the Etna, accepts the stipulation of Capt am S. P. Griffin, and for his part will render the assistance mentioned upon the terms stated.
"S. P. "J. VV.
The Etna had only one suitable to assist in towing the Colon. It was a lO-inch hawser, which had been in use on the Etna for two years or more, but was in good condi· tion. The Colon had a larger hawser, new, which had never been used. Before the captains separated it was arranged that both hawsers should be used in towing. This agreement having been made, the master of the Colon returned to his vessel, and the hawser of the Colon was passed to the Etna, and the hawser of the Etna to the Colon. The hawsers were made fast to the after bitts on the quarter-deck of the Etna, on either side, and the Etna resumed her voyage to New York with the Colon in tow. They got under way about 7 o'clock in the evening of the twentieth of August, and arTived off Sandy Hook shortly before midnight on the 23th, and came up the bay early in the morning of the 26th. During all the time that the service was performed the weather was fine, the sea smooth, and the winds favorable, and during most of the time both vessels carried sail. The ves. sels arrived in New York safely and without accident, except that the Etna's hawser stranded on the twenty-first, and t,here was consequently a short stoppage while it was being repaired. In consequence of the inequality in the strength of the two hawsers, they were so arranged that that of the Colon bore more of the strain of towage than that of the Etna.
ATLAS STEAM-SHIP CO. V. STEAM-SHIP COLON.
The Colon, on her arrival in New York, in her damltged condition, was worth about $230,000. She had earned no freight. On the arrival of the steamers in New York, the president of the Pacific Mail Steam·ship Company, which owned the Colon, called on the agents of the Atlas Steamship Company, and asked them to fix a sum for the service rendered, as he desired to transfer the passengers and cargo of the Colon to the Crescent City. NoagrMment was made, and later in the day the agents of the Atlas Steam-ship Company wrote to said president (Mr. Clyde) that they wished to consider the matter, and that they would communicate with him definitely on Monday, August 28. transhipment of the Colon's passengers and cargo to the Crescent Cit;}' was immediately commenced, with notice thereof to the agents of the Etna. On Monday the agents of the Atlas Company called upon Mr. Clyde and stated to him that they considered the.services worth $150,000, and that they would claim that amount. Mr. Clyde replied that he did not think the service was worth any sucb sum, but that he was willing to pay them fair compensation. There was no further negotiation, and on the following day tbe libel in this case was filed against the Colon and her cargo, claiming $150,000. The greater portion of the cargo of the Colon was then on board of the Crescent City. Process was issued under the libel, and the Colon and the cargo were both attached. A stipulation for the value of the Colon and her cargo, in the sum of $150,000, was given August 30th. The libel was filed by the Atlas Steam-ship Company, (limited,) for itself and all others. The master, officers, and crew filed petitions to be made co-libellants, and orders to that effect were entered. A salvage compensation of $10,000 was awarded by the court to the owners of the Etna and to her master and crew. Of this sum $4,375 was awarded to the master and crew, and $750 more to the master. These two sums, amounting to $5,125, have been paid by the owners of the Colon. The cargo of the Etna was shipped under bills of lading which permitted the Etna to tow