The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCGOHEY
The libellants in twenty-three consolidated causes seek damages for the loss of, or injury to, cargo which resulted when the M/S Christer Salen broke in two while on a voyage from Japan to Pacific coast ports in Canada and the United States. Their claims are against the ship and the owner.
The latter filed a cross-libel against saved cargo and its owners for general average contributions. The respondents are three shipowners alleged to have been in partnership with the owner.
The parties stipulated to try here only the claim of Peter Paul, Inc. for lost cargo and the owner's claims for general average. All other issues raised by the pleadings are deferred.
The owner seeks exemption from liability on the ground that the loss resulted from an excepted cause under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act.
1. At all material times the libellant Peter Paul, Inc. was a Delaware corporation.
2. At all material times this libellant was the owner of a shipment of 4,104 bags of desiccated coconut (macaroon) shipped by Peter Paul Philippine Corporation on board the Christer Salen at Manila, Philippine Islands, under bill of lading No. M-1-SFO, dated January 30, 1951, consigned to order, notify Peter Paul, Inc., at San Francisco by rail to overland to common point.
3. This entire shipment was lost at sea on February 15, 1951, with the Christer Salen's forward part which broke off and sank.
4. Freight on the shipment was paid.
5. Those libellants who have been sued as cross-respondents for contribution in general average had at all material times the status, corporate or otherwise, alleged in the libels and are the parties entitled to sue for such damages as may have been sustained with respect to their respective shipments, as alleged in the libels, and the parties liable to pay such amounts, if any, as may be due with respect to their respective shipments by way of general average contribution and/or special charges, as alleged in the cross libels.
6. By stipulation, proof of the status corporate or otherwise of all libellants not mentioned in the foregoing findings, and their ownership of the respective shipments, as alleged in the libels, has been postponed until after the trial.
7. By stipulation, proof by all of the libellants other than Peter Paul, Inc., of the fact of damage with respect to their respective shipments, as alleged in the libels, has been postponed until after the trial.
8. By stipulation, determination of the extent of the damage, if any, sustained by the libellants with respect to their respective shipments, as alleged in the libels, and the amount of general average contribution and/or special charges, if any, to be paid by the cross-respondents with respect to their respective shipments, as alleged in the cross-libels, has been postponed until after the trial.
9. At all material times Rederi Aì Pulp, the claimant-respondent and cross-libellant, was a corporation duly organized under the laws of the Kingdom of Sweden, and was the owner of the Christer Salen.
10. On May 24, 1947, the claimant-respondent and respondents entered into a joint cargo service agreement Known as the 'Salen-Skaugen Line Far East Service Agreement,' which they amended on December 2, 1949. Among other things, the agreement as amended provides (1) that Rederi Aì Pulp shall act as manager of the service with full power of appointment of agents to handle the vessels of all parties; (2) that profits and losses shall be divided in accordance with a table set out therein; and (3) that each party agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold each other party harmless against and from any and all claims asserted against each such other party by persons not party to the agreement and arising out of or in any manner connected with the use of such indemnifying party's vessels in such service. This agreement was in full force and effect at the time of and with respect to the voyages of the Christer Salen described in the libels.
11. All of the bills of lading, which constituted the contracts of carriage of the shipments described in the libels and cross-libels, were signed for and on behalf of Rederi Aì Pulp and the Christer Salen by their respective duly authorized agents. All bills of lading contained a Jason clause.
12. The Christer Salen was built at the Eriksberg Shipyard at Gothenberg, Sweden. Her keel was laid on February 2, 1944. She was launched in September, 1944 and completed in February, 1945, but was not put into service until June, 1945. All of her hull and deck plates were welded one to the other, but the plates were attached to the frames by rivets.
13. The vessel was classed 100 A-1 by Lloyd's Register of Shipping (hereafter called Lloyd's) and remained so until February 15, 1951 when she broke in two at sea.
14. In January, 1950 the vessel ran ashore on Silino Island in the Philippines, seriously damaging her fore foot. Her repairs were put in charge of a Mr. Gunnar Hjernquist, an engineer and ship surveyor of Gothenberg, Sweden, who went to Manila and made arrangements for temporary ...