Cont'd - In re Catalina Cruises - Passenger Vessel
Encounters Rough Seas

Before the COUNTESS had cleared the lee of the island,
Dennis had been in radio communication with the captain of
a passing sister ship, the CATALINA MONARCH, which was
on its way to Avalon, having left Long Beach at 12:00 p.m.
with no passengers. The captain of the MONARCH informed

Dennis that the ride from Long Beach had been miserable,
relating that the MONARCH had, mid-channel, experienced
winds from the west at 30-35 knots and heavy seas and
swells from the west at eight to twelve feet high. Dennis did
not relay this information to Captain Martin.

On the COUNTESS'S return trip, the wind blew at speeds of
25-30
knots from a west, northwest direction, with occasional
gusts of up to 35 knots, and waves ranging from five to ten
feet high could be seen breaking against the vessel.
Although Captain Martin was not monitoring the NOAA
weather channel during the trip, he observed that the
weather conditions had deteriorated from those seen during
the morning crossing.

Dennis testified that the weather was very windy and that the
swells were almost on the beam of the vessel, causing the
COUNTESS to roll at angles from 20 to 30 degrees.

Several claimants testified that the vessel experienced bad
rolls for approximately thirty minutes before a huge wave
struck the vessel and broke a window. The waves that were
breaking on the vessel ranged in estimated height from five
to ten feet. Just before the window broke, a set of larger and
more violent swells descended upon the beam of the
COUNTESS, causing the vessel to roll severely several
times. A larger wave then struck the COUNTESS broadside,
causing the window to shatter.

Passengers seated on the unenclosed portion of the first
deck were washed from their seats, and the force of the
water carried them across the deck. Some passengers on
the main deck, where the window shattered, were also
washed from their seats. As the swell passed under the
port side of the ship, the vessel lurched hard back to
starboard, throwing a number of passengers not struck by
the water onto the deck.

Upon learning of the broken window and passenger injuries,
Captain Martin immediately reduced the speed of the
vessel, obtained a first aid kit, and turned the helm over to
Dennis. Captain Martin then went to the main deck to survey
the damage and administer first aid.

Approximately ten minutes later, while in the midst of
surveying thedecks, Captain Martin radioed Dennis and
instructed him to alter course so that the vessel would be
headed in a more easterly direction.

This alteration immediately alleviated the severity of the
rolling, and the ride became much smoother.

On August 10, 1994, Catalina Cruises filed a petition
seeking
limitation of or exoneration from liability pursuant to 46
U.S.C. SS App. 181-196 (1994), and Rule F of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure Supplemental Rules for Certain
Admiralty and Maritime Claims. Magistrate Rupert J. Groh,
Jr. directed all potential claimants to file their claims by
Octo- ber 10, 1994. Thirty-two claimants filed, contending
that Catalina Cruises negligently operated the COUNTESS.
Following a bench trial,
Senior District Judge A. Andrew Hauk determined that
Catalina Cruises operated the COUNTESS in a manner
which breached its duty of care to the passengers. The
issues of causation and damages are to be determined in a
later trial. Catalina Cruises appeals the district court's
finding that it breached its duty of care. We affirm.

II. DISCUSSION

On appeal, Catalina Cruises claims that the district court
failed to apply the correct standard of care,*fn1 and that,
under the correct standard of care, Captain Martin's
handling of the COUNTESS was reasonable under the
circumstances. We review a district court's finding of
negligence for clear error. See Ludwig v. Pan Ocean
Shipping Co., 941 F.2d 849, 850 (9th Cir. 1991). "The
question whether the district court applied the proper
standard of care, however, is one of law and is, therefore,
subject to de novo review." Id.

[1] We conclude that the district court applied the proper
standard of care. The district court correctly noted that a   
shipowner owes a duty of reasonable care to those aboard
the ship who are not crew members. See Kermarec v.
Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, 358 U.S. 625, 630
(1959). In Kermarec, the Supreme Court held that "the
owner of a ship in navigable waters owes to all who are on
board for purposes not inimical to his legitimate interests
the duty of exercising reasonable care under the
circumstances of each case." Id. at 632; accord Morton v. De
Oliveira, 984 F.2d 289, 291 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 510 U.S.
907 (1993).

[2] The degree of care required is always that which is
reasonable, but the application of reasonable will of course
change with the circumstances of each particular case. The
Second Circuit has described the standard accurately:

What is required . . . is merely the conduct of the reasonable
man of ordinary prudence under the circumstances, and the
greater danger, or the greater responsibility, is merely one
of the circumstances, demanding

Read
more
U.S. Department of Labor - These are contact
numbers for Dept of Labor Offices that maintain
regional employment, unemployment, wage
information (cont'd)

MONTANA - Helena, MT - (406) 444-2430
NEBRASKA - Lincoln, NE - (402) 471-9964
NEVADA - Carson City, NV - (775) 684-0387
NEW HAMPSHIRE - Concord, NH - (603) 228-4123
NEW JERSEY - Trenton, NJ 08625 - (609) 292-0099
NEW MEXICO - Albuquerque, NM - (505) 222-4683
NEW YORK - Albany, NY - (518) 457-6369
NORTH CAROLINA - Raleigh, NC - (919) 733-2936
NORTH DAKOTA - Bismarck, ND - (701) 328-2868
OHIO - Columbus, OH - (614) 752-9494
OKLAHOMA - Oklahoma City, OK - (405) 557-7265
OREGON - Salem, OR - (503) 947-1212
PENNSYLVANIA - Harrisburg, PA - (717) 787-3266
PUERTO RICO Hato Rey, PR - (787) 754-5340
RHODE ISLAND - Cranston, RI - (401) 462-8767
SOUTH CAROLINA - Columbia, SC - (803) 737-2660
SOUTH DAKOTA - Aberdeen, SD - (605) 626-2314
TENNESSEE - Nashville, TN - (615) 741-2284
TEXAS - Austin, TX - (512) 491-4802
UTAH - Salt Lake City, UT - (801) 526-9401
VERMONT - Montpelier, VT - (802) 828-4153
VIRGIN ISLANDS, Charlotte Amalie, VI 340 776-3700
VIRGINIA - Richmond, VA - (804) 786-7496
WASHINGTON - Lacey, WA - (360) 438-4804
WEST VIRGINIA - Charleston, WV - (304) 558-2660
WISCONSIN - Madison, WI - (608) 267-2393
WYOMING - Casper, WY - (307) 473-3807
U.S. Department of Labor - These are contact
numbers for Dept of Labor Offices that maintain
regional employment, unemployment, wage
information.

ALABAMA - Montgomery, AL - (334) 242-8859
ALASKA - Juneau, AK - (907) 465-4518
ARIZONA - Phoenix, AZ - (602) 542-3871
ARKANSAS - Little Rock, AR - (501) 682-4500
CALIFORNIA - Sacramento, CA - (916) 262-2160
COLORADO - Denver, CO - (303) 318-8898
CONNECTICUT, Wethersfield,CT, (860) 263-6255
DELAWARE - Wilmington, DE - (302) 761-8052
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - (202) 671-1633
FLORIDA - Tallahassee, FL - (850) 488-1048
GEORGIA - Atlanta, GA - (404) 232-3875
GUAM - Tamuning, GU - (671) 475-7062
HAWAII - Honolulu, HI - (808) 586-8842
IDAHO - Boise, ID - (800) 772-2553
ILLINOIS - Chicago, IL - (312) 793-2316
INDIANA - Indianapolis, IN - (317) 232-7460
IOWA - Des Moines, IA - (515) 281-0255
KANSAS - Topeka, KS - (785) 296-5058
LOUISIANA - Baton Rouge, LA - (225) 342-3141
MAINE - Augusta, ME - (207) 287-2271
MARYLAND - Baltimore, MD - (410) 767-2250
MASSACHUSETTS - Boston, MA - (617) 626-6556
MICHIGAN - Detroit, MI - (313) 456-3090
MINNESOTA - St. Paul, MN - (651) 282-2714
MISSISSIPPI - Jackson, MS - (601) 321-6261
MISSOURI - Jefferson City, MO - (573) 751-3609
caselaw - heavy weather
Legal rights of maritime workers - Jones Act - Injured Mariner - Legal Test for Seamen Status - When is an employee a
seaman and when are they not a seaman - Jones Act for ferry workers - Exposure to Toxic and Hazardous Substances
When you visit ferry operator
sites, the typical job
postings may include:

Captain or "Master”, under
these US Coast Guard license
qualifications:
▪ 100 Ton Master
▪ 200 Ton Master  
▪ 500 Ton Master  
▪ 1600 Ton Master  
sometimes seeking
endorsements and STCW 95.

Mate , under this United
States Coast Guard license:
▪ 100 Ton Mate
▪ 200 Ton Mate  
▪ 500 Ton Mate  
▪ 1600 Ton Mate
sometimes seeking
endorsements and STCW 95.

Able Bodied Seaman, or Able
Seaman
or AB

Deckhand
May require STCW
95.

Chief Engineer , need to hold
this Coast Guard license:
▪ Chief Engineer Limited
▪ Chief Engineer Unlimited

Designated Duty Engineer  
under USCG license:
▪ Designated Duty Engineer
Some companies call their
position
Marine Engineer

QMED
Utility Worker
Electrician
Marine Mechanic
Green Trainee
or Trainee

Ferry Operators also seek

Ticket Reservationists, a/k/a
Reservation Agents
Customer Service
Traffic Operations Personnel
Parking Lot Personnel
Security Personnel

Companies may require
STCW, MMD (merchant
marine document, or Z Card)
Where a larger ferry company
operates its own shipyard or
maintenance facility, they may
seek the following:

Welder
Marine Electrician
Pipe Fitter
Carpenter
Electronics Technician
Painter
Administrative
Accounting
Personnel
Laborer