The Kronprinzessin Cecilie - 244 U.S. 12 (1917)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Kronprinzessin Cecilie, 244 U.S. 12 (1917)
The Kronprinzessin Cecilie
Argued pril 16, 17, 1917
Decided May 7, 1917
244 U.S. 12
Upon the facts stated in the opinion, held that the master and owners of the German Steamship Kronprinzessin Cecilie were justified in apprehending that she would be seized as a prize, and her German and other passengers detained, if she completed her voyage to Plymouth and Cherbourg on the eve of the present war; that return to this country before Plymouth was reached was a reasonable and justifiable precaution, and that libelants have no cause of action for failure to deliver their shipments of gold at those ports, although, semble, the risk did not fall within the exception of "arrest and restraint of princes, rulers, or people" expressed in their bills of lading.
In an ordinary contract of carriage not made in the expectation that war may intervene before delivery, peril of belligerent capture affords an implied exception to the carrier's undertaking, the contract being silent on the subject.
The Court rejects the argument that, although a shipowner may give up the voyage to avoid capture after war is declared, he is never at liberty to anticipate war, and holds that, where war is reasonably and correctly anticipated, liability for nondelivery of freight cannot depend upon a nice calculation that delivery might have been made and capture avoided if the voyage had gone on.
238 F. 668 reversed.
The case is stated in the opinion.