Ltd. v. Minister of War Transport (The Coxwold), (1942) A.C. 691, particularly at page 715. As Lord Wright pointed out, page 706, 'The extinction of the light was not the cause, though there was a remote chance that if it had been alight, as in peace time it used to be, the stranding might have been averted.'
I think it patent that the distinction between the cases which involved the stranded war risk phrase and the instant case lies in the fact that in the former the aim of the Court was always to determine the 'proximate cause' of the loss in controversy. In the case at bar, by the very terms of the charter party it is sufficient if the 'warlike act' merely 'contributed to' the loss. This observation renders it unnecessary to delve more deeply into the cases of the first class referred to.
Accordingly, it is the conclusion of this Court that the reduction in radio aids was a direct incident to the conduct of the war by the United States -- a naval strategy to deprive enemy vessels, submarine and surface, from utilizing the radio beacons to ascertain their own position for offensive purposes and to avoid their own stranding in the shoals abounding in the area.
In this respect my conclusion is in accord with that of the Court in the Ionides case which, as previously stated, held the extinguishing of a lighthouse to be a warlike act. Said the Court in the Ionides case, page 284:
'The extinguishment of the light was undoubtedly an act of hostility on the part of the confederates towards the federals.'
It is my further conclusion that the reduction in radio aids 'contributed' to the stranding of the 'E. H. Blum' and her resultant inability to continue in service during the period required to make the repairs necessitated by the disaster.
Finally, as to respondent's remaining point, the record clearly discloses that the owners did not fail to exercise due diligence to keep the vessel working, nor did any alleged unseaworthiness of the vessel play any part in bringing about the stranding.
Accordingly, I state the following
Conclusions of Law.
1. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties.
2. The stranding of the 'E. H. Blum' was not brought about by neglect of duty on the part of the Master.
3. The reduction in aids to navigation was a warlike act and such act contributed to the stranding of the 'E. H. Blum.'
4. The libellant herein is entitled to recover full hire for the 'E. H. Blum' to the extent that it was prevented from working by the aforesaid stranding.
An Order may be entered in accordance herewith and the cause will be submitted to a Commissioner for the determination of hire due the libellant, with credit to the respondent for the amounts heretofore paid.