St. Lawrence Cement Inc. v. Wakeham & Sons Ltd.

In Tug and Tow on (Updated )

This action involved a stranding of a barge due to the negligence of the tug. The towage contract specifically provided that the barge owner would be responsible for insurance on the barge and cargo and further provided that the towage was to be at the sole risk of the barge owner. At Trial, the Judge found that these provisions did not relieve the tug owner of liability for the loss. On appeal, however, the Court of Appeal held that the agreement to insure could have no purpose other than to relieve the tug owner of liability. It further held that the "sole risk" clause operated so as to relieve the tug owner from liability for negligence. In the course of its reasons the Ontario Court of Appeal suggested that the only basis upon which a tug owner could be held liable is in negligence and not as a bailee. (Editors Note: On the bailment issue, compare with Fraser River Pile & Dredge Ltd. v Empire Tug Boats Ltd.)