Improving Weather Conditions may Vitiate Marine Peril

Monday, March 24, 2008

In an unpublished opinion, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a vessel that has survived a hurricane without damage is not in a situation of reasonable apprehension of marine peril when the weather is dramatically improving.  In the instant case, a yacht was in port in Southern Florida during hurricane conditions.  When plaintiff towing and salvage company arrived on scene, the yacht was tied to another vessel, but there were damaged concrete pilings in the vicinity.  The trial court found that the center of the hurricane had passed and that weather conditions were improving dramatically.  Plaintiff voluntarily moved the yacht to a safer location and then asserted a salvage claim.  The court held that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the finding that there was no reasonable apprehension of marine peril when plaintiff rendered its services.  Thus, plaintiff was entitled to an award for towage services rather than a salvage award.  Cape Ann Towing v. M/Y Universal Lady, No. 07-13237 (11th Cir., March 11, 2008) (Source: HK Law).

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