1. The Court need not consider objections to the decree below
raised by a respondent who did not ask certiorari. P. 282 U. S.
2. Under a time charter party in the usual "government form,"
which placed at the charterer's disposal "the whole reach of the
vessel's holds, decks and usual places of loading," and provided
that "charterers . . . load, stow, and trim the cargo at their
expense under the supervision of the captain," the charterer is
responsible at least to the extent of the one-half of the damage
decreed below, for a loss of cargo caused, a half hour after the
departure of the ship and while it was still in smooth waters, by
the collapse of defective stanchions, which had been erected by the
charterer for its own convenience to facilitate stowing the deck
load, and this whether or not the topheaviness of the vessel,
caused by faulty stowage, was a contributory cause. Olsen v.
United States Shipping Co.,
213 Fed. 18, distinguished. P.
282 U. S.
3. The owner's duty to the charterer to provide a seaworthy and
cargo-worthy ship at the beginning of the voyage does not extend to
the furnishing of safe cribbing; the warranty applies only to the
ship and to such equipment as is called for by the charter party.
P. 282 U. S.
4. The master, under his duty of supervision of cargo stowage,
is not bound to prevent the charterer from stowing the deck load in
such manner as to expose it to dangers ordinarily incident to the
transportation of deck loads and not peculiarly within his
prevision. P. 282 U. S.
34 F.2d 442, 36 F.2d 227, affirmed.
Certiorari, 281 U.S. 712, to review a judgment which reversed a
judgment of the district court, 26 F.2d 92,
Page 282 U. S. 682
in favor of the petitioner in an admiralty suit in rem
to recover damages for loss of part of a cargo.
MR. JUSTICE STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.
Petitioner, charterer of the steamship Nidarholm, brought this
admiralty suit in rem
in the District Court for Southern
Maine to recover damages for the loss of part of a cargo of
pulpwood from the deck of the vessel, where it had been stowed by
the charterer. The time charter party, which was in the usual
"government form," see Golcar S.S. Co. v. Tweedie Trading
146 F. 563, placed at the charterer's disposal "the whole
reach of the vessel's holds, decks, and usual places of loading,"
and provided that "charterers . . . load, stow, and trim the cargo
at their expense under the supervision of the captain." The
question was whether, under these clauses of the charter party, the
ship was liable for the loss, although one of its causes was the
failure of the charterer to make the deck load secure. Judgment for
the libelant, petitioner here, in the district court, 26 F.2d 92,
was reversed by the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which
divided the loss, 34 F.2d 442, rehearing denied,
227. This Court granted certiorari, 281 U.S. 712, on a petition
which relied in part on an alleged conflict of the decision below
with that of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in
Olsen v. United States Shipping Co.,
213 F. 18.
The district court found the facts as follows: The Nidarholm was
chartered by petitioner for the purpose of carrying pulpwood from
its plant at Murray, Nova Scotia, to Portland, Maine. In loading
for the voyage in question,
Page 282 U. S. 683
petitioner, after the hold was filled, piled the logs of
pulpwood, cut in 2-foot lengths, on the deck to a height of 17
feet. The deck load was secured by a crib, which petitioner
constructed by erecting at intervals along the rail stanchions
about 20 feet long and from 8 to 10 inches in diameter at the butt.
The stanchions were held in position by wire rope lashings. When
the ship backed from the dock, she had a list to starboard of about
5 degrees; but as she proceeded on her voyage, the list shifted to
the port side, and increased to between 10 and 14 degrees. Within a
half hour of her departure, and while she was still in smooth
water, the stanchions broke, first on the port side, then on the
starboard, and the deck load above the rails spilled into the sea.
The court concluded that faulty stowage of the deck load had
rendered the ship topheavy and unseaworthy, and held that, since
this was a breach of the duty to supervise loading which the
charter party had placed on the captain, the ship was responsible
for the loss.
The court of appeals accepted the district court's finding that
the ship was topheavy and unseaworthy because of improper loading,
and its conclusion that this was a fault for which the master was
responsible, but stated that the question was whether the charterer
was also at fault. It pointed out that the cribbing was no part of
the equipment which the vessel was under an obligation to furnish;
that the charterer had erected it and chosen the material of which
it was constructed, and that all the stanchions gave way at a time
when the stress caused by the list of the ship was less than that
which would be occasioned by the normal roll of the vessel at sea.
These findings are supported by evidence.
Whether the court considered the topheaviness of the ship,
caused by the faulty stowage, and the defective cribbing to be
joint contributing causes of the loss, or thought the latter the
proximate cause, is not clear. But
Page 282 U. S. 684
it reached the conclusion, without referring to any supporting
facts, that the construction of the cribbing was a joint
undertaking carried out by the charterer and the vessel, for the
failure of which both were at fault, and decreed that the loss be
As respondent did not ask certiorari, the only question we shall
consider is whether the court below was wrong in denying the
asserted liability of the ship for the entire loss. Warner Co.
v. Pier Co., 278 U. S. 85
278 U. S.
By the terms of the charter party, there was an affirmative
warranty of seaworthiness on the part of the vessel which would
otherwise have been implied. The Caledonia, 157 U.
, 157 U. S.
-131. This warranty extends to unseaworthiness of the
ship due to faulty stowage of cargo, Corsar v. Spreckels,
141 F. 260, even though the charterer himself, subject to
supervision of the captain, loads the vessel, The
250 F. 19. The charterer is entitled to rely on the
master, in the exercise of his expert knowledge and judgment, to
control the disposal of cargo so as to avoid dangers to it from any
consequent unseaworthiness of the vessel. Olsen v. United
States Shipping Co., supra; The Oakley C. Curtis,
4 F.2d 979,
267 U.S. 599; The Dana,
190 F. 650;
cf. Corsar v. Spreckels, supra; The Thames,
Respondent argues that the responsibility of the ship, when
loaded by the charterer, is limited to faulty stowage of cargo
which endangers the ship, and that, when the cargo alone is
imperiled, as is contended was the case here, ensuing loss must be
borne by the charterer. See Elder & Dempster Co. v.
Paterson, Zochonis & Co.,
 A.C. 522, 560-562;
Reed & Co. v. Page, Son & East,
 1 K.B. 743,
754-756; cf. The Oakley C. Curtis, supra,
We are not aware of any case in which the rule thus broadly
stated has been applied so as to relieve the ship
Page 282 U. S. 685
from liability for damage to cargo exposed, by bad stowage, to
sea perils peculiarly within the specialized knowledge and
experience of the master. But it is unnecessary to pass on the
question here, for, independently of it, we think the ship cannot
be held responsible for the loss imposed on petitioner by the
Whether or not the topheaviness of the Nidarholm
taken to have contributed to the loss, the collapse of the
stanchions was also a contributing cause, and for the latter
petitioner is responsible, at least to the extent of the one-half
of the damage imposed on it below, unless there was a duty on the
ship to guard against the defective construction of the
The owner's duty to provide a seaworthy and cargo-worthy ship at
the beginning of the voyage did not extend to the defective
cribbing. That warranty applies only to the ship and such equipment
as is called for by the charter party. Cf. The Santona,
152 F. 516, 518. The cribbing was an enlargement of the ship's
structural capacity for cargo beyond what she would otherwise
naturally and reasonably take, which the vessel was not required to
provide, and which was constructed by the charterer for its own
convenience, to facilitate its stowage of cargo. The ship owed no
duty to furnish the cribbing such as would relieve the charterer
from the consequences of the failure to make it safe.
Even though the master's duty of supervision of cargo stowage
might, for some purposes and under other circumstances, be deemed
to extend to the erection of this structure as a means of stowing
the deck load, still we think there was no duty of ship or master
to prevent the charterer from loading the pulpwood in such manner
as to expose it to dangers ordinarily incident to the
transportation of a cargo on deck, and not peculiarly within the
prevision of the master. See Lawrence v.
17 How. 100, 58 U. S. 115
The charterer knew as well as the
Page 282 U. S. 686
master that the ship would heel or roll at sea, and that the
cribbing must be made sufficiently strong to hold the cargo on
deck. We see no more reason for imposing responsibility on the ship
for such an omission by the charterer than for the master's failure
to prevent the charterer from stowing cargo in such manner that it
is damaged by heat, The Thomas P. Beal,
11 F.2d 49, or in
defective containers, The Oakley C. Curtis, supra,
or in such contact with other cargo that it suffers injury, cf.
Elder & Dempster Co. v. Paterson, Zochonis & Co.,
supra. See also Lawrence v. Minturn, supra.
In the cases particularly relied upon by petitioner, the sole
cause of the loss appears to have been the unseaworthiness of the
ship. See The Seguranca,
and The Dana,
This was also the case with the part of the deck
load of logs in Olsen v. United States Shipping Co.,
jettisoned by the master to avoid danger to the ship,
which, due to the excessive deck load, had listed 24 degrees,
although no heavy weather had been encountered. Another part of the
cargo of logs had been loaded by the charterer on the forward deck.
As the loading was not completed until dark, the crew did not lash
these logs, as they had those on the after deck. This part of the
cargo spilled overboard when the master moved the ship without
lashing the deck load. The court held the vessel liable, saying
that she " . . . was unseaworthy as to her forward deck load, a
thing which it was the duty of the master to prevent." But it did
not appear that the charterer had assumed any duty of lashing the
deck loads, and it is evident that the moving of the vessel before
the logs were lashed, ready for the voyage, exposed them, by act of
the master, to a peril within his knowledge and control. The case
is thus distinguishable from the present, where the erection of the
defective stanchions was the charterer's act, and where it does not
appear that the defect was known to the master.