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Flagship Marine Services, Inc. v. Belcher Towing Co.

966 F.2d 602, 1992 AMC 2901 (1992)

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Flagship Marine Services, Inc. v. Belcher Towing Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

966 F.2d 602, 1992 AMC 2901 (1992)

Facts

A tugboat owned by Belcher Towing Co. (Belcher) (defendant) was pushing barges in the Okeechobee waterway when it struck a submerged object, which tore a hole in the tug’s hull. The tug immediately began taking on water. The tug’s captain quickly secured the barges in the shallows along an island and attempted to beach the tug as far as possible onto land to prevent it from sinking. A commercial salvage company, Flagship Marine Services, doing business as Sea Tow (plaintiff) responded to the incident. Sea Tow had previously provided salvage services to Belcher on a flat-running-rate basis. Before allowing salvage efforts to begin, the tug’s captain asked Sea Tow’s representative about the cost for Sea Tow’s salvage efforts. The Sea Tow representative responded, “we’ll worry about that [the price] later.” The tug captain then authorized Sea Tow to do all that it could to save the tug. The tug was eventually pumped out, refloated, patched, and saved. Sea Tow brought an action for pure-salvage compensation in federal district court and was awarded $125,000. Belcher appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fay, J.)

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