Admiralty and the Law
A vessel is traveling down the Mississippi River, proceeding to Japan with a cargo of approximately 60,000 metric tons of grain being carried under a bill of lading. It is being navigated by a licensed Mississippi River pilot. After it passes underneath the Crescent City Connection Bridge in New Orleans, it has an engine failure and loses all power. As a result of the engine failure, the pilot is unable to steer the vessel. It then strikes and damages another vessel injuring 6 crewmembers. As a result of the collision, water enters the cargo hold, and ruins the grain. What are the potential liabilities of the vessel owners, either directly or through property they own being held liable? Are there any possible limitations on their liability? Why?
Use examples from relevant cases and fully explain how those cases apply to this scenario. Your answer must be at least 500 words, and include footnotes with citations to course materials and at least one outside source.
Vermont Sailing Charters offers sailboats for bareboat charter vacations on the waters of Lake Champlain. A family agrees to bareboat charter a 30 foot sailboat for a one week sailing vacation. One evening they anchor off a small island and start the sailboat’s gas-powered generator so that they can watch a DVD. The generator’s exhaust system is faulty, and the family and their 3 children die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Can Vermont Sailing Charters file an action in admiralty to limit their liability to the value of the vessel under the Limitation of Vessel Owner’s Liability Act, 46 U.S.C. App. § 183(a)? Will they be successful? Are there any additional facts that you need to know in order to answer this question?
Use examples from relevant cases and fully explain how those cases apply to this scenario.
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