In Owners and/or Demise Charterers of the tug ‘Sea Tractor’, her Master, Officers and Crew v Owners of the Ship ‘Tramp’ – Butterworths Law Direct 19.1.07 the Admiralty court heard a claim for salvage, the issue being whether the salved vessel was in sufficient danger to found a claim for salvage.

The incident took place in February 2006 in the River Swale, when the Claimants’ tug had performed a tow of a few minutes’ duration. The tow had been in order to assist the Defendants’ vessel (the Tramp), which had been caught by the wind bringing the bow right around to head upstream.

On the facts, the Tramp’s port bilge keel had not been grounded. That submission was not reconcilable with the actions of the pilot. However, the vessel had been significantly impeded in her manoeuvring ability and was to all intents and purposes immobilised. The very fact that tug assistance had been called for was only consistent with the financial and physical risks associated with the situation. The vessel had clearly been in need of tug services on salvage terms: it was in sufficient danger to found a claim for salvage. Making fast had involved some skilful manoeuvring.

A fair and encouraging award would be £12,500 in favour of the Claimants.