THE MUNICIPAL. NEW YORK & N. S. Co.
OF NEW YORK.
(DiBtrict Court, S. D. New York. March 28,1888.)
COLLISION - STEAMERS MEETING- MISUNDERSTANDING SIGNALS SLOW AND STOP. FAILURE TO
Respondent's tug M. was coming down the East river somewhat on the Brooklyn side,and libelant's steamer (A was going up. A ferry-boat crossed the river between them,which required the M. to sheer a little only towardf the New York shore. The C. gave two whistles to the tug. indicating the latter should pass between her and the f«'rry-boat, and slowed. She heard nO answer, and· repeated the signals. She also stopped her engine on perceiVing that the tug was still swinging towards the New York shore. The tu,g had given one blast. and continueda.t speed, swinging across the .course of tlle C. until near the moment of the collision. lleld, that the tug was in fault for not slowing, as required by inspectors' rule 3, on the want of a common understanding; for her continued sheer across the other's bow; and for pot reversing sooner; that the a.was without fault, and should recover her damages.
In Admiralty. Libel f'ordamages. Owen &: Gray, for libelants. H. R. Beekman and R. L. Wensley, for corporation. BROWN, J. On the 26th of October, 1886, at about 2:30 P. M., as City of Alban:>·, bound for Norwalk, the side-wheel passenger Conn., was going under the East-River bridge, the Catharine-Street ferryboat Republic was leaving her New York slip just above the bridge, and the City of Albany slowed and stopped to pass astern of her. Soon after the Republic had passed, the respondent's Municipal was seen· coming down river,-as I find, someWhat on the Brooklyn side of the stream. She also exchanged signals with the Republic to go astern of the latter; and in order to do so, as her pilot testifies, she was obliged . to sheer somewhat to the New York shore. The City of Albany thereupon gave a signal of two whistles, indicating that the tug should pass between her and the ferry-boat, and at the same time she slowed. Hearing no answer, and seeing the tug still sheering towards the York shore, she soon repeated her signal and stopped. They came in collis-' ion soon after, about opposite pier 39, not over 300 or 400 feet from the New York shore. The City of Albany, at the time of collision, was heading a little towards the New York shore; and the tug had sheered around so as to head either directly towards the shore or a little up river. Capt. Sherwood of the tug, I must find upon the weight of proof, to be mistaken as to his precise place in the river; he was at least half way across fa wards the Brooklyn shore, and probably more. The direct testimony of the other witnesses to this effect is confirmed by the tact that
lReported by Edward G. Benedict, Esq., of the New York bar.
THE CITY OF ALBANY.
he could not have made the turn he did before collision; and by the further fact that, if 1lbe tug had been.only from a third to half way across the river, scarcely any sheer would have been necessary to enable him to pass astern of the Republic, as Coffey's evidence shows that the Republic was nearly in her slip in Brooklyn at the time of the collision. As the tug was coming nearly straight down river, it is clear that she had the City of Albany considerably on her starboard bow, and the tug was also a considerabledistance off the starboard bow of the latter. In that situation, at the time when the vessels first observed each other, and when they were bound to take the proper measures to avoid each other, there was no risk of COllision, .since the course of each was still well clear of the other,-starboard to starboard. The collision was brought about solely by the long-continued sheer of the tug, until she had changed fully eight points in her course, so as to bring her under the bows of the City of Albany. This was wholly unnecessary, and was bad navigation. The two whistles of the City of Albany first given were heard by the pilot of the tug, 1t is said, as one only·. Conceding that there was no fault in not understanding the first signal of the City of Albany, it was nevertheless very soon plain that she was not maneuvering in accordance with a signal of one whistle.Under the inspector's rule 3, which provides for such a case, it was the duty of the Municipal immediately to bring her speed down to "bare steerage way." In like manner, when no ansWer was heard by the tug to her first signal to the City of Albany, prudence required her to slow. The tug kept on, however, at full speed, till so near the City of Albany that her engineer did not have time to reverse the engine before collision. The faults of the Municipal, therefore, are these: F'irBt, for unnecessarily aud improperly sheering across the course of the City of Albany; 8econd, for not bringing her speed down to steerage way, in accordance with inspectors' rule 3, as soon as it was plain that a common understanding was not had; and, third. for not backing sooner than she did. Upon all the evidence, I do find any fault in the City of Albany. As soon as she saw that her whistles were not responded to, she slowed. Soon after, on repeating them, she stopped and backed. Her previous motion was moderate; and at the collision, though she probably had a little forward motion, to be inferred from the effects on the tug, it must have been small. The tug was easily handled. Her continued sheer could not have been anticipated, contrary to the repeated signals of the City of Albany; and the latter's signals were the proper ones in the situation, and she both stopped and reversed as soon as stopping and reversing could reasonably be supposed requisite. She cannot, therefore, be held in fault. The Greenpaint, 31 Fed. Rep. 231. The libelant is entitled to a decree, with costs, and a reference to compute the damages.
: THE FF.1RN HOLME.
(Distriot, dO'Urt, . :
Massadhlusstts. April '21,
COLLISION-"BETWEEN SnAMAND SAIL-CHANGING COURSE UNNECESSARILY.
Where 8 collision occurs between a steamer and schooner on accoun t of the .'scho-pner's violation of t!).e sailin,lot rules. in changiJ;\g her course from star,'board to port. and then back,again to starboard. without any excuse arising .out of the exigencies of navigation, and no negl'igence is shown on the steamer's part, the schooner isJiable for the reljulting damages. .
" . In Admiralty. Oros8:'libels for a collisjon between the' steamer ]j'ern Holme and the schooner St. Johns. B'l,ttkn, Stillman & for the Fel.'ne Holme. F. Dqdge, for Johns.
NELSON, J. This collision occurred on ilie ev;cning of17th March, 1887, about seven miles to the eastward of Sandy Hook light-ship. The Fern was approaching New York bay on a ,Holmej,alarge ,voyage from England, making a W. is. coqrse at a of niue knots. Thfi St. Johns, a s,chooner of about 400 tons,)wll8J:)Oundon a voyage to the eastward, with a cargo ofcoal, being on the port.tack with the wiod,N., W., her course due east, or nearly opposite to tbatof the steamer, ,bowsprit and her:speed about six knots. , In the collision ofthet\lchQoner struck steamer on the starboard bow·.· The case turns :rnainlYco.nthe testimony,glveu by the master ofthe Fern Holme,and by the. sec.ondmate ofthe St. JOhllS, who were the officers in charge of their ;respective vessels attha time'of the.accident. The testilnony of the master of the Fern Holme was,in substance, that, observing from his station on ,the bridge.. the red light,QIf the approaching vessel benring haIfa point on his starboard bow, he ordered his. wheel.to, be ported, to pallEl the achooner on her,pod:sidej hut before the order could ,be executed, the schooner ahuUn :her red light and ahowed her green light, being then al;>out half a mile distant and the light still bearing over his starboard bow. On seeing .the green light, he,ordered the wheel harddio starboard, to pass on :the starboard side, butl!ts ,the steamer fell off to port under the starcboard. h.elm, the schooner shut in her: green light and showed her red ligbt,.l.lgain. He bis engine, but it was too late, and the sohooner ·bore down, QD; and. the collision . TaktHat :the colli:;lion ing this to be a true account of the accident, it is was owing solely to the violation of the sailing rules by the schooner, in changing her course, first from starboard to port, and then hack again to or misconduct starboard. Nothing appears here to show any on the part of the steamer. It is argued that even on this showing she But should have reversed her engines when the green light was