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Torts Keyed to Franklin
Overseas Tankship (U.K.) Ltd. v. Mort’s Dock & Engineering Co., LTd. (The Wagon Mound)
Citation:Privy Council, 1961.  A.C. 388.
ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Defendant, the ship Wagon Mound was at a wharf and took on a large amount of bunker oil. In that process, they spilled quite a bit that concentered on the Plaintiff’s (Overseas Tankship) property. The Defendants set sail, making no efforts to disperse the oil. Plaintiff’s manager became aware of the oil and stopped all welding and burning until he assessed the danger. After the assessment, he determined that the furnace oil in open water was okay, so work continues for two days. Then oil under or near the wharf ignited, and fire spread, causing extensive damage to the wharf and the plaintiff’s equipment. The trial determined the fire was caused by a piece of debris floating in the oil-coated water that caught fire from molten metal. At trial, evidence was demonstrated that the defendant could not have reasonably known that the oil could be set afire while on the water. Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence and won in the trial court.
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