26 Austl. & N.Z. Mar. L.J. 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/ausnewma26 and id is 1 raw text is: Frank Stuart Dethridge Memorial Address 2011
Patrick J. Bonner*
When Sarah Derrington asked me to speak during the Australian CLE Program, I readily agreed. She mentioned
something about a Frank Dethridge or some name like that. Even though I had no idea what she was talking about, I
said fine. When I read up about Mr Dethridge and saw the formidable list of past, distinguished speakers of the
Memorial Address, I had the same reaction that Honorable Mr Justice Waung of the Hong Kong High Court had in
2004. I wanted to back out. However, I thought that if I tried, this might put this entire joint meeting in jeopardy.
Not wanting to rupture the good relations between the United States and Australia, I decided to soldier on.
However, I must start with some caveats. I am not an Australian lawyer and know very little about Australian law.
I realised that I would bore you death if I spoke about American law and American cases so I had to come up with a
topic that I thought would be relevant to you and might even hold your interest.
A few years ago, I read a book called Crazy 08 by Cait Murphy.' I thought it was going to be about Hillary Clinton,
Barack Obama and the Presidential race in 2008. However, it was about the New York Giants, the Chicago Cubs
and the Baltimore Orioles and the baseball pennant race of 1908. I took her idea to heart and decided to speak about
maritime law twelve years into the century. Not the 21st Century but the 20th Century. Yes, 1911 and 1912.
I think the years 1911 and 1912 mark the start of the modern era in maritime law. The sinking of the Titanic and
subsequent investigations and conventions led to some semblance of international uniformity and eventually, the
establishment of the IMO. The Titanic was responsible for the birth of the International Ice Patrol and indirectly for
the birth of the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard remains the prime regulator of maritime commerce in
the United States. During this time in Australia, the Navigation Act 1912, the Lighthouse Act 1911and the Seamen's
Compensation Act 1911 all passed during these years. This era may be the start of Australian nationalism in
maritime law and also the supremacy of the Federal Government over the states in maritime law. In the United
States, we also had the Jason2 case which in effect allows parties to contract away protections given by maritime
legislation. In the forefront as usual, New Zealand's maritime law was largely settled by 1911 and 1912 but I will
discuss some important maritime developments involving New Zealand during these years later on in the program.
We all know the basics of the Titanic story. A British flagged ship, operated by White Star Line, she was the largest
passenger steamship in the world. She was on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York when she hit an
iceberg four days into the crossing. She hit the iceberg at 11:40 PM on 14 April 1912 and sank at 2:20 the following
morning. The sinking resulted in 1 517 deaths, one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
Many wealthy Americans were onboard including John Jacob Astor; Meyer Guggenheim; Joseph Hays, President of
the Grand Trunk Railroad; John Thayer, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad; and of course, the Unsinkable
Molly Brown.3 A first class parlor suite supposedly cost about US$69 000 in today's dollars.4 In addition to the
stewards and crew, 41 of the passengers brought their own personal maids. Traveling third class was not as pricey
with the cost being US$172 to US$640 in today's dollars.
. President of the U.S. Maritime Law Association. The author delivered this speech at the F.S. Dethridge Memorial Address during the joint 2011
Conference between the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, and the US and Canada Maritime Law Association.
' Cait Murphy, Crazy 08: How, a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History (Smithsonian
Books, 2007).
2 The Jason, 225 US 32 (1912).
Daniel Butler, Unsinkable: The Full Story of the RMS Titanic (1998) 23-32.
The History on the Net Group, The Titanic - First Class Passengers (2000) History on the Net
< http://www.historvonthenet.coinTitanic/firstelass.htm> at 8 October 2011.
(2012) 26 A&NZ Mar LJ

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