Admiralty – Unseaworthiness – Recovery for Injuries Resulting from Condition Arising After Commencement of the Voyage

Plaintiff, a member of the crew of a fishing vessel, sustained injuries while disembarking when he slipped on a slimy substance on the ship railing. In an action brought against the shipowner, the seaman sought recovery on three alternative grounds: first, under the Jones Act based upon negligence; second, under general maritime law based upon the obligation of the shipowner to furnish a seaworthy vessel; third, under general maritime law for maintenance and cure. Judgment was entered pursuant to a verdict limiting the seaman to recovery for maintenance and cure. On the seaman’s appeal from the adverse verdict on the unseaworthiness count, held, affirmed. A shipowner is not liable for injuries to a seaman caused by a condition of unseaworthiness arising after commencement of the voyage where in the exercise of due care there would be no opportunity for the shipowner or employees to observe and remove the condition. Mitchell v. Trawler Racer, Inc., (1st Cir. 1959) 265 F. (2d) 426, cert. granted 80 S.Ct. 70 (1959).