Star of Hope
76 U.S. 203

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Star of Hope, 76 U.S. 9 Wall. 203 203 (1869)

Star of Hope

76 U.S. (9 Wall.) 203


1. To constitute a voluntary stranding of a vessel, it is not necessary that there should have been a previous intention to destroy or injure the vessel, nor is such intention supposed to exist. It is sufficient that the vessel was selected to suffer the common peril in the place of the whole of the associated interests in order that the remainder might be saved.

1. The stranding is voluntary whenever the will of man does in some degree contribute thereto, though the existence of the particular reef or bank on which the vessel grounds was not before known to the master and though he did not intend to strand the vessel thereon, provided it sufficiently appear that in making the exposure of the vessel. he was aware that stranding was the chief risk incurred by him and that it was not wholly unexpected by him.

3. These principles applied to the facts of this case, and the stranding held to be voluntary, so as to render the damage to the ship thereby caused, and all costs and expenses consequent thereon, a subject of general average contribution.

4. As a general rule, the contributory value of the ship, when she has received no extraordinary injuries during the voyage and has not been repaired on that account, is her value at the time of her arrival at the termination of the voyage. But where, as in this case, the ship has sustained injuries during the voyage and undergone repairs, her contributory value is her worth before such repairs were made. In the absence of other proof on this point, her value in the policy of insurance at the port of departure is competent evidence. From this, however, should be made a just and reasonable deduction for deterioration.

Page 76 U. S. 204

5. The expenses of an ex parte adjustment made by the charterers of a ship at the port of delivery are not chargeable in admiralty on the ship or freight unless the results were adopted and used in the court below by the commissioner who stated the adjustment made under order of the court.

6. Repairs cannot be made by the master unless he has means or credit, and if he has neither and his situation is such that he cannot communicate with the owners, he may sell a part of the cargo for that purpose if it is necessary for him to do so in order to raise the means to make the repairs. Sacrifices made to raise such means are the subject of general average, and the rule is the same whether the sacrifice was made by a sale of a part of the cargo or by the payment of marine interest.

In November, 1855, the firm of Annan, Talmage & Embury chartered at New York the ship Star of Hope, the master, officers, and crew being all employed by the owners. They received on board of her, at the port just named, a large quantity of merchandise on freight deliverable at San Francisco, and also merchandise their own property. They received also, on freight, payable to them for and on account of the owners, two hundred and forty-four tons of coal. Among the merchandise shipped by the charterers and the other shippers (not the owners), were five hundred casks and packages of brandy and other spirituous liquors, stowed next the coal, and one barrel and forty-eight kegs of gunpowder, prepared as "patent safety fuses."

With this cargo on board, the ship sailed from New York in February, 1856, for San Francisco, being in all respects during the voyage kept tight, staunch, well fitted, tackled, and provided with every requisite, and with necessary men and provisions -- all which the charter party bound the owners that she should be -- except as hereinafter set forth.

During the voyage, about the middle of April, 1856, the ship being then on the east side of the southern end of South America, and in about latitude 46

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