Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 47 Times in 44 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...
I don't think so. The owner had no obligation to know the risks the boat and the crew will sustain or if the boat will be safe on doing the passage.
It is the Captain that has to decide what is safe or not even at the cost of his job.
In general (in the US and most maritime nations' law), owners are permitted to leave the decisions of whether to set sail, routing, seeking shelter, navigation, to the sound discretion of a competent captain, and avoid liability, or at least limit it to the value of the vessel post-casualty (ie zero here) provided the ship is (to their reasonable knowledge) seaworthy at the outset.
But if they make, or participate in, any of those decisions, or have "privity or knowledge" of unseaworthiness, then they may be found unable to limit liability, and may share in liability even if the primary misjudgements were the captain's. And claimants will look to the deeper pocket of owners and underwriters who may have to end up paying for the shallow-pocketed captain's negligence (if this is the case), even if their own negligence was much less by comparison.