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Lloyd's Law Reports


(1946) 80 Ll.L.Rep. 672


Before Mr. Justice Pilcher, sitting with Captain W. R. Chaplin and Captain T. L. Owen, Elder Brethren of Trinity House.

Salvage - Derelict - Prior salvors - Dispossession by later salvors - Whether justified - Alleged inability to accomplish salvage unaided - Successful search by R.A F. plane - Right to award - United States steamship American Farmer (which was eastward bound) abandoned by crew after collision in Atlantic Ocean about 650 miles west of Land's End - Expectation that ship would founder - SOS messages sent out - Request made by owners of American Farmer to R.A.F. Coastal Command that plane should be dispatched to ascertain whether American Farmer was still afloat and, if so, her exact position - American Farmer found by plane, message to that effect being sent to authorities - Salvage tugs Salvonia and Empire Mary ordered by their owners to answer distress call - Message in meantime picked up by British steamship Elizabete that American Farmer was still afloat - Course retraced by Elizabete (which was eastward bound) about 130 miles to last estimated position of American Farmer - American Farmer boarded by party from Elizabete - Holds Nos. 1 and 2 flooded - Ship down by head - Steering gear and engines out of action - Crew of Elizabete unfamiliar with layout - Steps taken to tow American Farmer to port - Connection established by means of four of Elizabete's mooring ropes - American Farmer shortly afterwards sighted by American Ranger (a westward-bound sister ship) - American Farmer boarded by party from American Ranger - Work commenced on steering gear and engines, so that ship could proceed to nearest port without assistance - Towage commenced by Elizabete - Slow progress - Steering gear and engines put in order by party from American Ranger - Master of Elizabete informed by master of American Ranger that American Farmer would proceed to port under her own steam - View expressed by master of American Ranger (indorsed by U.S. destroyer Perry which was then standing by) that Elizabete could not herself accomplish towage and that tow ropes should be cast off - Tow ropes to Elizabete cut by boarding party from American Ranger when it became apparent that Elizabete refused to disconnect - American Farmer navigated to port by skeleton crew from American The "American Farmer." Adm. 673 Ranger (which included five volunteer U.S. army personnel who were passengers on American Ranger) - American Farmer escorted by American Ranger and later by Salvonia and Empire Mary which upon arrival were asked by the master of American Ranger to stand by - Arrival at Falmouth before Elizabete arrived at Barry - No real risk to American Farmer or to salvors in prevailing weather - Right of President of Air Council and crew of plane to salvage award - Air Navigation Act, 1936, Sect. 28 - [1938] S. R. & O., No. 136.

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