The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARSH
Libelant claims he saved two barges and a cargo of 600 tons of coal from impending peril or loss, and brings this action for a salvage award.
The court has jurisdiction in admiralty of the parties and cause of action.
On that day, about 12:30 o'clock P.M., these barges slipped from their moorings at the Serodino loading dock near the Village of Guild, Marion County, Tennessee, on the Tennessee River, a navigable river with a 9-foot navigable channel.
One end of barge Z408 was loaded with 600 tons of coal worth $ 2,550; the other barge was empty. Each was 175 feet long, 26 feet wide, and 11 feet deep. They were lashed together abreast as they started to drift. No proof was offered of their value.
Libelant, Leedert Heuval, owned an all-steel, twin-screw, cabin cruiser 'Rob-Marie', 46 feet long and 12 feet wide at the stern; two marine motors, each of 100 horsepower, provided the power. The approximate value of this craft was $ 5,000.
The Serodino loading dock was situated about 300 feet upstream from the river dock where Heuval's cruiser was moored; both docks were on the left downstream side of the river.
At the time aforementioned the river was in a low pool stage. The current was slowly flowing at a speed estimated on behalf of respondents at 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 and by libelant at 3 to 4 miles per hour. The weather was fair and calm. The river in the vicinity varied from 600 to 775 feet wide. The ...