Sea Tractor, Owners of the Tug & Ors v Tramp, Owners of the Ship, Court of Appeal - Admiralty Division, January 18, 2007, [2007] 2 Lloyd's Rep 363,[2007] EWHC 31 (Admlty)

Resolution Date:January 18, 2007
Issuing Organization:Admiralty Division
Actores:Sea Tractor, Owners of the Tug & Ors v Tramp, Owners of the Ship
 
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Neutral Citation Number: [2007] EWHC 31 (Admlty)Case No: 2006 FOLIO 402IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICEQUEEN'S BENCH DIVISIONADMIRALTY COURTRoyal Courts of JusticeStrand, London, WC2A 2LLDate: 18/01/2007Before :MR JUSTICE DAVID STEELSitting with Captain Iain GibbElder Brother of Trinity HouseAs Nautical Assessor - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Between :| |The Owners and/or Demise Chartereres of the tug "Sea Tractor", her Master, |Claimants || |Officers and Crew | || |- and - | || |The Owners of the Ship “Tramp” |Defendants |- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Stewart Buckingham (instructed by Ince & Co) for the ClaimantsJeremy Russell QC (instructed by Winter Scott) for the DefendantsHearing date: 8 December 2006- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -JudgmentMr Justice David Steel : 1. The Claimants are the owners of the tug SEA TRACTOR, her Master, Officers and Crew. The Defendants are the owners of the vessel TRAMP. The Claimants seek to recover salvage remuneration in respect of services rendered on 21 March 2006. The Defendants contend that the services were merely towage services to be remunerated in accordance with the Claimants’ usual tariff in the sum of £625. 2. Salvage claims in this court are rare. This is a tribute to the efficiency of the Lloyds Salvage Arbitration system. However, where as here, there is a dispute as to whether the services constituted salvage services, it is necessary for that issue to be determined either by this court or, more usually, by an ad hoc submission to arbitration. 3. When these proceedings initially came before me I expressed concern that the legal costs were at risk of being out of all proportion to the claim, even if it proved appropriate to determine it on a salvage basis. In order to limit those costs, I ordered that the trial be conducted on the basis that it should be accomplished within a morning – the parties being limited to ½ an hour’s cross-examination of the respective masters and 45 minutes by way of submissions. I believe the parties viewed this as a fair balance between the need for thorough consideration of the issues and the need for limitation of expense. In any event the hearing has been duly conducted within the time limits imposed. 4. SEA TRACTOR is a small motor workboat/tug of 340 hp. She was built in 1980. She is some 15 metres in length with a maximum draft of about 1.5 metres. She is equipped with twin propellers. She was of ideal size and power for towage operations on the River Swale where she is based. Her replacement cost was in the region of £150,000. 5. TRAMP is a small coaster of 1,181 tons gross with a single hold. She was built in 1978. She is some 68 metres in length and 11.6 metres in beam. At the relevant time she was in ballast and drawing about 1.8 metres forward and 2.7 metres aft. She is equipped with...

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