THESCHIEDAK. 1 MILLARD 'V.TlIJ!l SCHlEDAK.
Cowrt, S. D. New York. December 1',1891.)
SALVAGlli-TOWING DISABLED STEAMER.
Tbe machinery of the steam-ship Schiedam bad been disabled, so as to oompeltbe vessel toancborsome 15 miles east of Sandy Hook, and about 4 miles from the Long Island sbore. The weather was hazy.' Tbe powerful tug Evarts came up, and agreed to take her to her'dock iu Hoboken for'l,OIlO. The Evarts was tbe only tug sight at tbe time. She ,towed the steam-sbip to bel' dock as agreed, with some assietan<ie from otber tugs met on the way, some ofwhlcb bad heen sent by the agent!! of tho ship. The Scbiedam and cargCl were worth '185,000; the Evarts was worth HeLd, that the amount agreed on was reasonable, and should be awardlld. '
I. BAtIE..:-coNTBACTS FOR AGREED AMOUNTS.
, Salvage, viewed as a reward, ie not properly the subject of a contract in advance. Courts of admiralty fully examine into the circumstances of the service in the interellt of the prOp0rty saved, and award no more than a reasonable sum, and are not bound by the amount agreed on beforehand.
tn Admiralty. Suit to recover salvage. Decree for libelant Wilcox, Adams &: Green, for libelant. Wing, Slwudy &: Putnam, for respondent. BB:oWN, J. The compensation awarded in a court of anmiralty for salvap;c services is not given as a mere quantum 'meruit for the work and labor done, but on grounds of public policy, in the interest of navigation, and for the safety of property and life, and as an and reward' for the readiness, promptitude, and energy necessary to secure those ends, both in the conduct of the salvors personally, and for the vessels and other appliances previously provided for such service. Viewed as a reward, therefore, salvage is not properly a subject of any binding contract in advance, except as a limitation of the salvors' demands. In cases of present distress and peril the very necessity for salvage service presupposes that the parties do not stand upon equal terms as respects any contract they may make on the subject, any more than a captured prisoner in stipulating with brigands fot his ransom. While a sum agreed on in advance and in the presence of danger may, therefore, limit the salvor, it has little or no binding effect upon the other party. All courts of admiralty freely examine into the circumstances in the interest of the latter, and award no more than a reasonable sum, without regard to the amount agreed on. See Chapman v. Engines, etc., 38 Fed. Rep. 671,6'72, and cases there cited. The Code of the Netherlands, to which country this vessel belonged, like the Codes of several other maritime countries, expressly provides (section 568) that any agreement as to salvage compensation made at sea before the danger is over "can be modified or annulled by the judge." In the present case the Schiedam had become wholly disabled in her machinery, so as to be compelled to anchor some 15 miles to the east1
Reported by Edward G. Benedict, Esq., of the New York bar.
FEDERA.L REPO,RTER t
ward of Sandy Hook, and about 4 miles from the Long Island shore. The weather was hazy. She was of the value of about $60,000, and her cargo of the value of about $125,000; in all, about $185,000. The libelant's tug Evarts came to her between 2 and 3 o'clock in the afternoon. No other tugs were then in sight. If she did not accept the services of the]£varts, it was quite probable that in the hazy weather she might not be discovered by any other tug in time to be taken into port before the;next day, and in that case she would incur the chances Qf the weatMr in the mean time. It, is, to the of commerce and navigation that reasonable encouragement should be given to cruising beyond the' limits of the port by vessels capable of rendering salvage service to tRose who are in need of succor. The Evarts was a powerful tug; business, costing $38,000, and at this time worth $30,000. In view of all the circumstances and of the value of the Schiedam and cllrgo, Ido not think the sum of $1,000, which was the sum contractedfor,is any more, to say the least, than I should have allowed for the services of the. Evarts as the first tug that had come to the steamer's aid. The three other tugs, subsequently met, added their services, and have belm' paid at towage rates. The first was met about an hour after the Evarts had begun her towing; the other two were sent down from New York by the agents of the Schiedam, after news had been received by tel,l;lgrapb of her need, and were met not far from Sandy Hook at about half 5 P. M. Early the next morning the Evarts resumed her work, al1d topkthe Schiedam to tqe dock at Hoboken, as had been agreed, with the aid, however, of the Goodwin, which the agents of the . vessel sent to lj.ssist, and which was at leaSt in docking. It is, clear, the libelant's evidence that any additional assistance would have been prov,ided by One of their own tugs, had not the respondent's agent volunt-eered to send the Goodwin. fqre making proposal, the agentW(1s informed contr.a.ct to take, to the Hohokell dock t.housand dollars. ,As this sum is, all' .that is claimed, and rloes not exceed what this court \Vquld award the Evarts' services, without reference to the additional helpthat and the agent thought it judicious to employ, it is 110t necessary to consider further any to the other tugs, I.\S # iS"dear th,at they were on the Evarts' account. . ))ecree for $l,QOO, and costs.
THE G. W. JONES.
THE NEW YORK
S. B. Co.
(District Court, S. D. New York. January 12, 1892.)
L B.u.,VA<JE-NllOEBBITY POR AID-POWER OP MASTER TO CoNTRACT.
In an emergency the master of a ship is not required to obtain speclal authority flJ9m hiS owners entering into a contract to pay an agreed amount for salvage aid.
" An admiralty court, however, will look at the reasonableness of the amount
agreed on before enforcing a salvage contract.
8. SAM1!-ToWING 'VRBBEL OPl' BEACH-C,..SE STATED. A steam-ship; in getting under way from her wharf at Progresso, broke her an· chor, lind the wind, caused her to strand on the beach. She could not get oif by her own eiforts, but was in no danger unless a northerly storm should spring up. 1t being deemed dangerous to allow bel' to lie there overnight, a written contract wae made by her maeter with libelants' tug. the Qnlyone at ProgresBO, to get her oiffor $2,500, with $500 additional in case the tug or her hawser should receive any damage. The tug thereafter got the ship oif uninjured. On suit bronght to enforce the contract,the answer of the ship averred that the contract was signed under duress, and that the master did not communicate with his owners, as he might and should have done. The ship and cargo were worth $107,000; the tug $25,000. The latter was not hurt, but incurred some danger of injury. The time of her service wae short. Beld, that the tug should receive $2,000 for her serviceL
In Admiralty.' Suit to recover salvage award. Carter &: Ledyard, for libelants. Butler, Stillman &: Hubbard, for claimants.
13ROWN, J. In the afternoon of November 1, 1890, as the steam-ship G. W'. Jopeswas gl'ltting under way from the outer end and the westerly main wharf at,Progresso"the fluke of her anclior, on which .abe was heaving, broke; ,and" a strong wind from the catching hel'\lpon thestarboa):'Q, bow,she swung off, and strande.d broadside upon tpe,heach. Repeated: e,fforts were at once made, by heaving upon the lioos;lead,ing to the wharf, to pull her off the beach, but without success. Her winches were stranded, and severaUines "of the bestmauilla broken. ,The sea was choppy, the wind fresh, and it was near Jljgh water. There was no danger of wreck unless anorthedy storm should come up, but the master deemed it dangerous. to leave the vessel in that condition overnight, lest she should work higher up on the beach aO(tdeeper in the sand. After some negotiation, a written contract was, made with the master of the libelants' tug M. Moran to haul her off the beach to a safe anchorage place for $2,500, with $500 additional incase the tug should suffer damage to herhull,engines, rigging, hawser. This agreement was made about 7 P. M. The tug procured at work upon the steamer at about 8 P. M., and at 9 suchawsers, ceeded in getting her afloat, and thereafter. took her about three miles out into good anchorage ground, completing the service at about! A.. M. the
", tReportedbyEdward G. Benedict, Esq., of the New York bar.