General Accident Indemnity Company v. The "Panache IV"

In Salvage and Wrecks on (Updated )

This case has a good discussion of salvage. The case involved a claim for a salvage award by the underwriter of the "Panache IV". The "Panache IV" had an insured value of $275,000.00 and sank in deep waters under suspicious circumstances. The underwriter, suspecting the vessel had been scuttled, undertook salvage efforts. After two failed attempts the underwriter was finally able to raise the vessel. The raising of the vessel provided crucial evidence that the vessel had, in fact, been scuttled. The salvage of the vessel cost the underwriter in excess of $307,000.00. The salved vessel was sold for slightly in excess of $30,000.00. The underwriters sought a salvage award out of the sale proceeds to defray some of the costs of the salvage. The mortgagee of the vessel, who was owed approximately $240,000.00, opposed the salvage award arguing that the underwriter was a party interested in the vessel and its services were not therefore rendered voluntarily such as to attract a salvage award. The Court, however, held that the underwriter was entitled to a salvage award and awarded the underwriter $12,000.00 plus additional expenses of $2,600.00.