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Biggest fish story of the year
March 2, 2012 5:57 PM   Subscribe

The tuna-fisher Trevignon responded to a call for help from the Costa Allegra... if the crew of the Trevignon are like many other sailors I know, I bet they're swilling champagne and living the high life in Mahé. But the story may be a bit more controversial.
posted by sammyo (18 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
There is a standard salvage contract -- the Lloyd's Standard Form of Salvage Agreement.

The first line after the title and publisher lines?

NO CURE - NO PAY.

Yes, it's that simple. The guys named in Box 2 will do their best to get the property in Box 2 to the place in Box 3, and if they do so, they get paid the amount determined by a Lloyd's arbitrator.

So, I don't blame the captain of the Trevignon one bit. He responded to the call for help, offered the Lloyd's Open Form contact, it was accepted, and he passed his lines over.

I also sense shenanigans. In the 2nd link, they stated the tow was at 4 knots*, but in the first, it's six knots -- and in the 2nd, the other tows stated that they were able to haul at 6-7 knots.

IOW, it sounds like sour grapes -- somebody wanted the salvage contract, and since neither the owners nor the salvers were willing to terminate, they didn't get it, so now they're attempting to cast blame on the owners.

Plus, what we don't know is how much longer the Costa Allegra would have been adrift if they had waited for the two tugs to arrive, rather than taking the tow from Trevignon. It may be that they would have been out just as long, since the two tugs were considerably farther away.

One of the primary inputs on the salvage contract's value is the cost of the vessel saved. That's huge. Another is the order. High-order salvage involves high risk. Low-order, such as a tow in calm seas, is low risk and the rewards are less. This will likely be a very lucrative contract for the owners and crew of the Trevignon.

Finally, there is no life salvage. All mariners at sea, with the exception of warships during war, have a duty to save lives without expectation of reward. The deal is that you're willing to rescue everyone else, so everyone else is willing to rescue you.



* Well, at 4 nautical miles, which isn't a velocity. We'll assume they meant 4 nautical miles per hour.
posted by eriko at 6:15 PM on March 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


*shrug* no one was in danger, so the tug was free to keep the salvage.

I'm not sure I really care that some folks were uncomfortable for a few days, but I suppose that's because I wasn't on the ship.

It sucks when your travel plans go awry through no fault of your own, but we can't expect centuries of maritime law to be set aside simply because of someone's comfort.

Someone would have claimed the salvage. And, as far as I can recall, only the ship that brings the disabled vessel to a successful dock can make a claim, no matter what handshake deals were made at sea.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:16 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


(The Costa Allegra, incidentally, belongs to the same company as the cruise liner Costa Concordia, which capsized recently after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.)
Might want to avoid booking with that cruise company.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:25 PM on March 2, 2012


"Might want to avoid booking with that cruise company."

This is no doubt the biggest damage done in terms of monetary value out of either of these stories
posted by Blasdelb at 6:27 PM on March 2, 2012


Never, ever, ever, ever confuse a fisherman with an owner. The fishermen will be paid near slave wages, and the captains and boat owners will goddamn well will be sipping Crystal in Mahé.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:28 PM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


IOW, it sounds like sour grapes -- somebody wanted the salvage contract, and since neither the owners nor the salvers were willing to terminate, they didn't get it, so now they're attempting to cast blame on the owners.

Precisely. The terms of salvage on the high seas aren't subject to the wishes of corporate interests ashore.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:41 PM on March 2, 2012


I wonder if any Concordia passengers were taking Costa up on the discounted makeup cruise and happened to be on Allegra.

It looks to me like the second story originally had said "knots" for the speed, but some bonehead thought it would look more correct if they globally replaced "knots" with "nautical miles" just before publishing.
posted by ctmf at 6:57 PM on March 2, 2012


"Might want to avoid booking with that cruise company."


The discounts have to be great right now though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:06 PM on March 2, 2012


I love maritime law. It's more essential than ever and yet still uses wonderfully anachronistic terms that just sound beautiful. We didn't get much of that sort of thing in family law. Great post.
posted by webhund at 7:51 PM on March 2, 2012


Just how much is a tow worth? Fuel, wear and tear on the boat, loss of a few days fishing, etc. It's not like they saved it from sinking or anything.

The story about the engine fire reminded me of a site that came up in some other MeFi thread, Marine Diesels. I found that site and was just fascinated by all the horror stories of big ship engines destroying themselves due to neglect and poor maintenance, or exploding due to operator error. I mean look at this stuff, like a crankshaft cracked in two. Piston rods bent 90 degrees. Holes burned through a piston and caused a crankcase explosion. Or you could have a lube failure cause a piston to seize up and crack the engine block.

I am never ever getting in a ship that goes further out to sea than I can swim back to land.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:35 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just how much is a tow worth?

Easily half or more the value of the ship. Many, many millions. It's not a car tow it's marine salvage, which is in international waters and is under the arcane marine admiralty laws. Just who tosses the towing line to who can make a huge difference, the fishermen (well the owner of the fishing boat) could in a few days of towing, essentially, take ownership of the Costa Allegra.
posted by sammyo at 9:14 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just how much is a tow worth? Fuel, wear and tear on the boat, loss of a few days fishing, etc. It's not like they saved it from sinking or anything.
A ship in the open ocean with no ability to make headway or steerage is a disaster that hasn't yet happened.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:14 PM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just how much is a tow worth?

Legally? Millions.
posted by fshgrl at 10:59 PM on March 2, 2012


It's not like they saved it from sinking

All vessels afloat are always at risk of sinking.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:04 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


(The Costa Allegra, incidentally, belongs to the same company as the cruise liner Costa Concordia, which capsized recently after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.)
How come the company in question is hardly ever named? It's Costa Crociere which is a subsidiary of Carnival Cruse Lines. It's a pretty major brand name, so it's kind of amazing how little their name is mentioned in stories about it.
posted by delmoi at 11:07 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's Costa Crociere which is a subsidiary of Carnival Cruse Lines.
Who, via their ownership of the White Star Line, are no stranger to maritime disaster.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:05 PM on March 3, 2012


@charlie don't surf: It's not like they saved it from sinking or anything.

So you don't know shit about large vessels at sea without power and a burned out engine room. Couldn't resist posting. Got it.

They're lucky the pirates didn't get there first.
posted by kjs3 at 1:45 PM on March 3, 2012


Just how much is a tow worth? Fuel, wear and tear on the boat, loss of a few days fishing, etc. It's not like they saved it from sinking or anything.

If we were talking about contract equity, maybe, sure. But the LOF isn't about the inconvenience suffered by the salving party. It's purely mercenary. You bring the boat in, you get the salvage. This works partially because it's internationally recognized. So instead of haggling in different languages and handing distressed ships off to other tugs who you don't know and so on and so forth, you have two real rules: 1.You bring the boat in, you get the salvage, and 2. We figure out the value of the salvage when we get in, so don't worry about it while people are in danger.

So the Trevignon performed a rescue, and under maritime law the way they were supposed to. The only controversy I see here is Costa Crociere having the temerity at this point to claim that the fishermen who saved 1000 of their passengers are the villains here.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:58 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


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