The opinion of the court was delivered by: BEEKS
S.S. SEATTLE, owned by Sea-Land Service, Inc. (Sea-Land), and S.T. EAGLE COURIER, owned by Eagle Terminal Tankers, Inc. (Eagle), collided on August 7, 1968 off Vancouver Island, B.C. SEATTLE was loaded with cargo containers while EAGLE COURIER was in ballast. The parties agreed to equal fault with all provable damages to be shared equally. They agreed to all damages sustained by Eagle in the amount of $1,388,465 and damages sustained by Sea-Land of $991,926. However, the parties could not agree on $870,114 of the damages claimed by Sea-Land.
A special master was appointed to make findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding the disputed damages. After considering the claims made by both parties, the Special Master submitted a preliminary draft report under F.R.Civ.P. 53(e)(5) to counsel for their suggested changes. The Special Master's final report incorporates changes deemed by him to be valid.
Both parties have filed objections to the report. The Court has reviewed the report and has considered the parties' objections thereto. Except as indicated below the objections are overruled.
I. DEFENDANT'S OBJECTION TO THE DETENTION LOSS FINDING
Eagle, in its "Memorandum on Commissioner's Final Report," objects to the amount of detention loss damages found by the Special Master. Eagle contends that the number of northbound (N/B) containers used by the Special Master to compute the net revenue lost by Sea-Land during the detention of SEATTLE should be reduced from 1200 (the number of containers SEATTLE could have carried during the four sailings lost during detention) to at least 697. This objection is overruled.
The Special Master based his detention damage computation on the two voyages of the SEATTLE before and after the collision. During these four "measuring stick" voyages, the SEATTLE actually carried a total of 1166 Nì containers. However, the Special Master used 1200 Nì containers to determine the net revenue lost by the SEATTLE during detention; SEATTLE was designed to carry 300 containers per voyage so it could have carried 1200 containers during the "measuring stick" voyages.
At the time of the collision, Sea-Land's two vessel Alaskan fleet had established a continuous "pipeline" of cargo between Seattle and Alaska. During the peak season, spring to late fall, SEATTLE carried an average of 304 Nì containers per voyage. On occasion SEATTLE could accommodate more than 300 containers per voyage due to varying container sizes and modified loading procedures. In fact, SEATTLE carried 311 and 309 Nì containers respectively on the two voyages immediately prior to the collision.
The detention of the SEATTLE disrupted the flow of cargo through this "pipeline" and its regular customers sought to assure delivery by re-routing their cargo. This caused a time lag of several weeks which was apparently reflected in the reduced number of Nì containers SEATTLE carried on the two "measuring stick" voyages after the collision. On these peak-season voyages SEATTLE carried 257 and 289 Nì containers respectively when she should have been carrying approximately 304.
With these facts in mind, the use of 1200 containers (design capacity) as a basis for determining net revenue loss, rather than a lesser number, appears fair and equitable. It gives Sea-Land credit for the revenue it could have reasonably expected the SEATTLE to produce during August and September of 1968. The procedure used by the Special Master to determine detention damages is found to be reasonable.
II. OBJECTIONS REGARDING THE AWARD OF PRE-JUDGMENT INTEREST
A. DEFENDANT'S OBJECTION TO THE AWARD
Eagle contends that pre-judgment interest should be denied in a mutual fault collision case because the amount of the ultimate award is uncertain until the date of entry of judgment and it is uncertain which party will bear the ultimate liability until that time. ...