The opinion of the court was delivered by: BARD
This is a seaman's action in admiralty to recover wages, subsistence and vacation bonus allegedly due the libellant by reason of his wrongful and improper discharge as master of the respondent's vessel, the S.S. 'James Roy Wells.' On the basis of the pleadings and the testimony, I make the following special
1. The libellant is David D. Higbee, a resident of Haddonfield, New Jersey.
2. The respondent is American Foreign Steamship Corporation, a New York corporation which owns and operates the S.S. 'James Roy Wells.'
3. The libellant is a master mariner, having held his master's license for ocean vessels of unlimited tonnage since 1929.
4. The libellant was employed by the respondent by a letter dated July 2, 1947 assigning him to command the 'James Roy Wells.'
5. There was no agreement regarding the length of time the libellant was to be employed by the respondent.
6. The respondent carried a $ 25,000 blanket performance bond with the National Surety Corporation. This blanket performance bond automatically bonded every master that was employed by the respondent without the master having to apply for or sign the bond.
7. The libellant was so bonded.
8. After the libellant assumed command of the 'James Roy Wells' in Galveston, Texas, he received a letter of instructions from the respondent to take that vessel to Bombay, India, and to Vizagapatam, India. The vessel returned to Baltimore, Maryland, on November 2, 1947.
9. While in Bombay the libellant sold gunny sacks and grain fittings from the 'James Roy Wells' for 4,880 rupees.
10. The exchange rate in Bombay at that time was 3.32 rupees per $ 1.
12. Thus, the libellant reported $ 750 as the sale price of the gunny sacks and grain fittings when he actually received $ 1,469.88.
13. Pursuant to a second letter of instructions, the libellant took the 'James Roy Wells' from Baltimore on November 15, 1947 to Rotterdam, Holland, and returned to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 25, 1947.
14. Meanwhile, thinking that 2,490 rupees ($ 750) was a very low sale price for gunny sacks and grain fittings worth over $ 8,000 when new, the ...