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840. The losses and depreciations that a ship and its cargo sustain in consequence of wreck or stranding will be at the separate account of the several owners, who will share in the same way in whatever is salved.
G. 703, I. 646 (1), P. 635 (2), 637.
841. If the wreck or stranding be caused by the default or want of care and skill of the captain, or if the vessel went to sea insufficiently repaired and equipped (i.e., in an unseaworthy condition), the shipowner or shippers may demand compensation from the captain for injury done to the ship or cargo by the casualty, in conformity with what is laid down in Articles 610, 612, 614, and 621.
This is probably the law of all civilised States, even though not expressly stated, in the case of a master of a ship, that a person injured should obtain satisfaction, if he can get it, from the person injuring him; the more important question is how far the shipowner and the ship itself are liable for the acts of the master. See Arts. 587, 588, and 837 ante.
842. There is a special lien on property salved from a wreck for the payment of salvage, and its claim must be satisfied by the owners of the goods before they are delivered to them, and in priority to any other charge on them if they are sold.
843. If several vessels are sailing on a joint undertaking (en conserva), and one of them is wrecked, the cargo that is salved will be divided amongst the rest in proportion to what each can take.
If any of the captains refuse without just cause to receive his share, the captain who has been wrecked will enter a protest against him before two sea officials for all losses or injuries which may ensue, and extend the protest within 24 hours of his arrival at his first port, and include it in the proceedings which he must institute in accordance with the rules laid down in Art. 612.
If it is not possible to transship all the wrecked cargo on to the other vessels, things of greatest value and least bulk, as pointed out by the captain in agreement with the officers of his vessel, will have priority in salvage.
844. The captain who has collected goods salved from a wreck will prosecute his voyage to his port of destination, and on his arrival will place them, under judicial control, at the disposal of their lawful owners.
If the goods can be discharged in the port to which they are consigned by a Ideviation from the voyage, the captain may put in to that port, if the shippers and super-cargoes who are present, and the officers and passengers on board the ship consent; but he cannot justify so doing, even with such consent, in war time, or when the port is difficult or dangerous to approach.
All expenses of such putting into port will be on account of the owners of the cargo (so carried) as well as the payment of such freight as, having regard to the circumstances of the case, is fixed upon by agreement or judicial decision.
This legalises, under certain restrictions, a deviation, not merely to save property, but to benefit salved property, contrary, in both cases, to English Law. See Scaramanga v. Stamp, 5 C.P.D. 295.
845. If there is no one in the ship having an interest in the cargo who can satisfy the expenses and freights resulting from the salvage, the judge or Competent Court may order the sale of the portion necessary to satisfy them by its proceeds. Resort may be had to the same process where the preservation of the cargo is attended with danger, or when a year has elapsed without its lawful owners being ascertained.
In both cases the proceedings will be conducted with the publication and formalities ordered in Art. 579, and the proceeds of the sale will be placed on secure deposit, according to the judgment of the judge or Court, to be handed over to its lawful owners.
This applies, in a roundabout way, the sweet simplicity ofa suit in rem in the Admiralty Court in England, which is available in all cases of salvage, and which, if no one intervenes to protect his interest, results in a sale of the property and a payment out of the salvage award.
F. W. RAIKES.
V.—CURRENT NOTES ON INTERNATIONAL LAW.
Public International Law.
HE very serious illness of Mr. Secretary Blaine, greatly
as we must regret it in itself, has undoubtedly served
to facilitate the solution of the Behring Sea dispute. At the beginning of May, Mr. Blaine, in a long letter* to Sir julian Pauncefote, replied to Lord Salisbury’s communication of February last.t He agreed to arbitration, provided that the matters to be referred to the arbitrators be couched in the form of the six questions set forth by him. As several of these are more or less irrelevant to the real point at issue, and one at least is quite frivolous, further negotiations will probably be necessary in order to arrive at a satisfactory basis of arbitration. Mr. Blaine’s argument in the same letter, derived from a supposed analogy between the U.S. Behring Sea Order and the Herring Fishery (Scotland) Act of 1889, can hardly be taken seriously. It would seem, however, that President Harrison and his Secretary of State are not absolutely at one in the desire to prolong the dangerous state of friction between the two countries. At all events, during Mr. Blaine’s illness, on the 15th june last, an agreement for a modus vivendi was entered into between Great Britain and the United States upon the terms of a close season for seals being established in Alaskan waters, until May, I892.*
* Times, 8th May, 1891. 1 Parliamentary Papzrs, U.S., Nos. 1 and 2 (1891).
During the breathing space thus afforded, it is hoped that some definite agreement for arbitration will be speedily arrived at. It is satisfactory to know that two British Commissioners, Sir George Baden Powell and Dr. Dawson, have been despatched to the Prybilof Islands to consider on the spot the best means of checking the threatened extermination of the seals in Alaskan waters.
Meanwhile, the judicial proceedings in the W. P. Sayward case are progressing, though slowly. The arguments of counsel for and against the writ of prohibition have been deliveredtt The two main questions propounded by Mr. Choate well epitomise the whole British view of the matter. Owing to the desire of the Supreme Court to have a full Bench, and the unfortunate indisposition of Mr. justice Bradley, the final hearing of the case has been postponed till 9th October.
We may mention that there is an admirable article in the Revue de Droit International (Brussels), No. 3, 1891, on Ln Question d’A laska, by Dr. Geffcken.
The Civil War in Chili. The melancholy interest in the deadly Chilian contest has not been confined to members of the Stock Exchange and connoisseurs in torpedoes and armour plates. The
war has produced several incidents of importance in International Law. In the first place, the Orders of
* Times, 16th June, 1891. 1- Times, 25th and 27th April, 1891.
President Balmaceda closing to foreign Commerce such ports as Iquique and Pisagua are of doubtful validity, and may at any moment cause trouble.*
Then, the Itata affair, which recalled to the U.S. Government unpleasant memories of the Alabama claims, promised at first to be somewhat exciting. The Itata appears to have been a vessel in the service of the Congressionalist Party or “insurgents,” and to have put in to the Californian port of San Diego, about the end of April, with the intention of shipping arms, coal, and provisions. While the U.S. Executive was doubtless considering how to apply to the case its own hazy doctrine of “ due diligence," the delinquent vessel slipped out of port, shipped arms and ammunition outside the harbour from a U.S. schooner, the Robert and Minnie, and having already taken on board 600 tons of coal, was speeding southwards before the U.S. authorities had quite made up their minds what to do.’r
In spite of Mr. Blaine’s grave doubts as to the legal position, the U.S. Government appears to have sent the Charleston in pursuit, with orders to capture the fugitive “ at all hazards/'1 In doing this it seems to have relied on the rather questionable proposition laid down by its Solicitor-General in the W. P. Sayward case that “the seizure of a ship on the high seas after it has committed an illegal act within our territory is justifiable.”§ At the same time, a Chilian senator, Sr. Ricardo Trumbull, was arrested as having aided and abetted the I tata's “ breach of neutrality.” The Robert and Minnie was also seized, but subsequently released.ll The chase of the Itata proved to be a stern chase, but when she reached Iquique Harbour, she (together with 5,000 rifles still on board) was voluntarily
* Times, 21st April and 5th June. 1' Times, 7th May, nth May.