The opinion of the court was delivered by: CANNELLA
CANNELLA, District Judge.
On September 30, 1961, the Liberian freighter S.S. Everest was time chartered (for a period of four to six months) by her owner, the World Wide Steamship Co., Inc. [hereinafter "World Wide"], to the Orient Mid-East Lines of Panama [hereinafter "Orient"]. Thereafter on October 6, 1961, Orient entered into a Baltimore berth grain charter party
with the India Supply Mission
calling for the Everest to transport some 9,500 long tons
of rice from a United States Gulf port to Bombay.
The vessel departed Lake Charles, Louisiana on December 1, 1961, destined for Bombay via the Mediterranean and Suez Canal -- the normal and shortest route between Gulf ports and India.
On December 15th, Orient instructed the Everest to put in at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands for fuel and then to proceed to Piraeus, Greece for additional cargo before continuing on to the Suez Canal.
The vessel's master, Ferendinos, immediately notified World Wide of these instructions.
The Everest arrived at Piraeus on January 1, 1962 and the next day lifted some 35 tons of detonators, apparently consigned to the Punjab National Bank for the account of Indian Detonators, Ltd.,
and certain other miscellaneous cargo. The ship sailed for Port Said near midnight, January 3-4, and entered the Suez Canal on January 6th.
At approximately 3 a.m. on January 7th, while some 55 kilometers in the canal, the Everest encountered dense fog, whereupon the canal authorities ordered the vessel to moor. In maneuvering to make fast, the ship ran aground, forward on the starboard side, with the stern then drifting diagonally across the canal to port. Subsequent maneuvering to free the vessel and moor it on the port side of the channel resulted in damage to the rudder severe enough
to prevent the Everest from continuing the voyage to Bombay without first dry-docking for repairs.
Following a survey conducted at the behest of World Wide, the detonators were off-loaded at Ismailia, and the Everest was towed back to Port Said where approximately half of the rice cargo was discharged to facilitate the dry-docking. The vessel was thereafter repaired, refloated, and reloaded with both the rice and detonators, and it finally arrived in India on or about February 11, 1962.
World Wide filed its libel herein on January 20, 1964, seeking contribution to the general average
on the part of India. India in turn filed its libel against Orient and Orient's agent, Eagle Ocean Transport, Inc. The two actions were subsequently consolidated for trial.
This Court's jurisdiction is based on 28 U.S.C. § 1333(1).
The contentions of World Wide herein
are that expenses of a general average nature were incurred by it during carriage of India's cargo; that the stopover at Piraeus did not constitute a "deviation", or, in the alternative, was reasonable and therefore not in breach of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act [hereinafter "Cogsa"], 46 U.S.C. § 1300 et seq.; that if there was a deviation, India waived it; and that, in any event, the loss occurred after the deviation had ended and while the vessel was on course and the deviation had no causal relationship thereto.
India argues that the Everest's lifting of additional cargo at Piraeus amounted to an unreasonable deviation which India did not waive; that the deviation amounted to a breach of contract by Orient; that India therefore is not liable for general average contribution; but that, in the alternative, if India were to be held responsible for such contribution, India is entitled to indemnity from Orient and/or damages measured by the freight received for carriage of the detonators, to wit, $15,810.20.
The court finds that the voyage to Bombay via Piraeus was clearly a deviation, which has been defined simply by Orient's counsel as a "departure from the ship's contractual course."
Steaming directly (and nonstop) from Gibralter to Port Said -- a distance of approximately 1935 miles
-- was the contractual course in this case. The deviation therefrom to Piraeus amounted to an additional 184 miles and a delay of at least three days in reaching the Suez Canal.
Both the voyage charter party and bill of lading were executed subject to Cogsa, which provides, in pertinent part:
Any deviation in saving or attempting to save life or property at sea, or any reasonable deviation shall not be deemed to be an infringement or breach of this chapter or of the contract of carriage, and the carrier shall not be liable for any loss or damage resulting therefrom: Provided, however, that if the deviation is for the purpose of loading or unloading cargo or passengers it shall, prima ...