McAlpin Tanner Marcotte Victorious In Maritime Salvage Appeal

Arnaud Girard v. M/Y QUALITY TIME
Court of Appeals Docket No. 14-10931-DD
January 6, 2015

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a salvage award in the amount of 12% of the yacht’s post-casualty value.  Girard, a professional salvor, argued that the award was inadequate in light of the risk he undertook, the skill he displayed, and the public policy behind salvage awards.  On appeal, Girard was seeking an award of 33% of the yacht’s post-casualty value because of the risks associated with nighttime diving to patch the hull.  After finding that Girard’s claims “do not hold water,” the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s salvage award and the finding that this was a low-order salvage.  Girard’s efforts were limited to routine salvage services – including pumping, patching, and towing.  He did not face any risks out of the ordinary for the typical professional salvor, and thus he was not entitled to a liberal award.