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Freight

Seamen


Law and Sea.
When charterer impliedly warrants safe berth

Sailors’ Wages
Last updated: 12-Jun-2015

Per Lord Kenyon in Harris v Watson (1791) Peake NP 72 at p.73:

If this action was to be supported, it would materially affect the navigation of this kingdom. It bas been long since determined, that when the freight is lost, the wages are also lost. This rule was founded on a principle of policy, for if sailors were in all events to have their wages, and in times of danger entitled to insrst on an extra charge on such a promise as this, they would in many cases suffer a ship to sink, unless the captain would pay any extravagant demand they might think proper to make.

Lord Ellenborough in Dunkley v Bulwer [1806] NP:

Seamen’s title to wages depended on the completion of the voyage when the ship became entitled to freight; but when the ship was lost, all title to wages, as to every part of the crew, was at an end, and they had no claim on that account.

Lord Ellenborough in Stilk v Myrick [1810] 2 Camp 317:

When the Defendant entered on board the ship, he stipulated to do all the work his situation called upon him to do. Here the voyage was to the Baltic and back, not to Cronstadt only; if the voyage had then terminated, the sailors might have made what terms they pleased. If any part of the crew had died, would not the remainder have been forced to work the ship home? If that accident would have left them liable to do the whole work without any extraordinary remuneration, why should not desertion or casualty equally demand it?

Per Lord Stowell in The Juliana (1822) 2 Dods. 503 at p.509:

The common mariner is easy and careless, illiterate and unthinking; he had no such resources, in his own intelligence and experience in habits of business, as can enable him to take accurate measures of postponed payments, with proper estimates of profit and loss... The owner contracts with a certainty of receiving his freight at all hazards…

But the mariner goes to sea upon the single security of the freight. His labours and perils have nothing else to trust to. Freight is the mother, and the only mother of wage; if that goes, everything goes. He has no stepfather, if I may say so, in the character of insurer, to supply the loss.


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