The decision of Judge Wm. Lochren of the United States court at Duluth in the ARABIA- HADLEY salvage case has attracted a great deal of attention, on account of a division of the award, in which it is provided that one quarter shall be given to the crew. A copy of this decision is at hand. The libel against the steamer G.G. HADLEY was filed by the Western Transit Co., owner of the steamer ARABIA, and by R. Murray, master, on behalf of himself and the crew of the HADLEY. In a statement of the case the court says that from proofs submitted in answer to the libel it appears that on Sept. 7, 1895, the ARABIA was on a voyage from Duluth to Buffalo with a cargo mostly of flour. About 10 o'clock in the morning she sighted a steamship about five miles from the southern coast of Lake Superior and opposite the mouth of Eagle river making signals of distress, and on approaching, found it to be the GEORGE G. HADLEY laden with a cargo of wheat and bound from West Superior to Chicago. There was a strong wind blowing from the west-north-west and a high sea, and the HADLEY had lost its rudder, and was therefore almost unmanageable and in considerable peril; and the master of the HADLEY requested the master of the ARABIA to aid in rescuing the HADLEY from its dangerous situation. The master of the ARABIA at first attempted to tow the HADLEY but after breaking a hawser went to the stern of the HADLEY and passed two hawsers from the bow of the ARABIA to the stern of the HADLEY, and caused the Arabia to act as, and in the place of a rudder, in steering the HADLEY and thus assisted and returned with the HADLEY to Duluth, where the damaged vessel was repaired, and the libel for salvage filed.
"The value of the HADLEY says the court, "is admitted to be $70,000, its cargo $45,000 and its freight for the trip $2,450. The value of the ARABIA is shown to have been $80,000, its cargo $40,000, and its freight for the trip $2,000. The ARABIA was delayed two days in assisting the HADLEY at an expense of $125 per day and had one of its hawser worth $150, rendered worthless in the same service. The service rendered by the ARABIA was plainly a salvage service, in every way meritorious, skillfully performed and deserving of substantial reward. The HADLEY was without a rudder, the waves ran high and the wind was strong, driving toward a rocky shore. Its signals of distress showed that its officers and crew regarded its situation and condition perilous. The master of the ARABIA assumed considerable risk to his own vessel and cargo from the dangers of collision in such a heavy sea when approaching the other vessel sufficiently near to pass lines to it and render the required aid. He performed the entire service skillfully and with complete success. An award of salvage is necessarily a discretionary award, varying with conditions and circumstances, such as the value of the vessel and cargo saved, and the danger from which it is rescued; the value of the vessel and cargo risked, and the hazard to which it is exposed, the skill employed and the measure of success. Public policy requires that salvage allowances shall be sufficiently liberal to induce seamen, even at much risk and inconvenience, to succor and rescue endangered vessels. In this case as a fair salvage award to the libelants the sum of $5,000. This will cover the expense of delay, $250; the value of hawser rendered worthless, $150; and 4 per cent. of the value of the vessel and cargo salved. If distributed rateable upon the value of the vessel and cargo the award would be $3,043.50 against the vessel and $1,956.50 against the cargo. But as the bond of claimant is to pay the amount awarded by the final decree against the ship and cargo, such distribution will not be necessary. Of the amount awarded seven-tenths should go to the owner of the steamer ARABIA, one- twentieth to the master, and the residue to divide among the master, officers and crew of the same vessel, in proportion to their wages. The libelants are also entitled to costs and to prompt remedy upon the bond."
H. B. Spencer of Duluth was proctor for the libelant in this case and a. E. Kremer of Chicago for the claimant.
The Marine Review
June 3, 1897