201 F.3d 632 (5th Cir. 2000), 98-20630, Folger Coffe Co. v Olivebank
|Citation:||201 F.3d 632|
|Party Name:||THE FOLGER COFFEE COMPANY; GULF INSURANCE CO., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. OLIVEBANK; CHARMAIN SHIPPING, INC.; SAFBANK LINE LIMITED; ANDREW WEIR SHIPPING LIMITED; LYKES BROTHERS STEAMSHIP COMPANY, INC., Defendants-Appellees. GULF INSURANCE COMPANY,Plaintiff-Appellant, V. M/V OLIVEBANK; CHARMAIN SHIPPING, INC.; SAFBANK LINE LIMITED, Defendants-Appelle|
|Case Date:||February 03, 2000|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
Appeals from the United States District Court Southern District of Texas
Before FARRIS1, WIENER, and STEWART, Circuit Judges.
FARRIS, Circuit Judge.
In this admiralty and maritime appeal, Folger Coffee Co. and its insurer, Gulf Insurance Company, seek to reverse the district court's judgment that (1) the vessel M.V. Olivebank is entitled to use general average on a salvage lien and (2) that Folger Coffee and Gulf Insurance owe their proportional share to the general average fund. We affirm.
The M.V. Olivebank left the Port of Durban, South Africa on June 12, 1996, with cargo that included granite blocks, steel wire and earth moving equipment. On the morning of June 15, 1996, the vessel encountered severe weather and extremely rough seas which caused seawater to come over the aft deck. At approximately 8:00 a.m., seawater in the vessel's alternator room, two levels below the deck, shorted the two active alternators and caused a complete loss of electrical power to the ship. Electricity was required to run the main engine and steer the ship. The third alternator, which was on standby, should have engaged but either did not or was immediately turned off so that it could be evaluated for water damage. The vessel's emergency electrical system, required by the Safety of Life at Sea Convention of 1974, should have provided emergency lighting from batteries, followed by the automatic start-up of the emergency generator to provide electrical services for steering. The batteries failed and the emergency generator was ultimately started manually. The emergency system was not designed to provide motive power.
The parties dispute the exact means by which the seawater reached the alternator room. It is, however, undisputed that a skylight, or raised hatch, nine feet above deck and two levels above the alternators was open at some point during the relevant period. The floor of the room below
the skylight was the ceiling of the alternator room. Several small holes had been cut in this floor/ceiling to enable equipment to operate properly while resting on the floor. Water coming through the skylight could have gone through these holes into the alternator...
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