The Cachemire

38 F. 518 (D.S.C. 1889)



Salvage is given for the succor of persons or property in danger, by the sacrifice or risk of property, of persons, or of time. 


The Cachemire, a French steam-ship, was on her voyage from Rio to New York, laden with coffee. Her cargo was valued at $103,000. Her freight was $1,050. She herself was insured at $150,000, and was worth about $200,000. On 29th January, after a gale of some violence, she lost her rudder. With great skill and ingenuity, the master of the steam-ship prepared a temporary steering apparatus, but it was of little service in a rough sea and in a strong current. Being thus disabled, the master determined to make his course for the United States, seeking to reach somewhere on the coast of Georgia or South Carolina.  From the time she lost her rudder the steam-ship had up the signals required by the International Code for a disabled steam-ship. The pilot-boat Charleston was cruising at this time on her pilotage ground off the bar. She observed the lights of the steam-ship and mistook them for signals of distress. She bore down to and hailed the steam-ship. The master of the steam-ship informed her that he was on a voyage to New York, and wanted a port. The pilot replying to him that he could not enter Charleston because of his draught of water, or any other neighboring port but Port Royal, he expressed the desire to go into that port, and requested the pilot to send his boat in for two tugs to tow him in. Murray, a full-branch pilot from the Charleston, boarded the steam-ship, and the other full-branch pilot, Santos, went off at once in the pilot schooner up St. Helena sound into Coosaw river for the tugs, a distance of some 25 miles. The nearest tugs were those of Mr. Lopez, who upon hearing that the steam-ship was a passenger vessel, at once ordered the Cecilia tug to go to her assistance, communicated similar orders to another tug, the Catherine, and went himself in the tug, the Ida.


Did the tugs and pilots perform salvage services subject to remuneration? 




The steam-ship in this case had sustained such injury or damage as rendered it almost, if not quite, impossible for her to get across a bar into a harbor without assistance of a tug. Therefore, this was a salvage service, but of no high grade.  There was no danger whatever to life. There was minimum danger to the property used in the salvage. Even at night, the tugs went for safety into the river. The weather was calm and clear. The time consumed was parts of two days. The award must be made upon the calculation of a fair remuneration for time and trouble with the salvage bounty. It would be contrary to public policy to encourage pilots in converting their duties into salvage services, but they rendered extraordinary services and displayed extraordinary skill. They took over the bar in a difficult channel. The disabled steamship, 346 feet in length, steered in an unusual way, without accident or delay. They certainly are entitled to extra compensation. A pilot who brings in a disabled vessel is entitled to additional compensation on account of the superadded responsibility, hazard, and risk. Pilots may become salvors, but they must first strictly discharge their duty as pilots.

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