ficient to charge the Rio Grande with blame that there was reasonable time, space, and opportunity for her to avoid the collision by backing after the brig ought to have been seen coming out of the slip, and after her intent was clear. The OatskUl, 38 Fed. Rep. 367; The Columbia, 23 Blatchf. 268, 25 Fed. Rep. 844; The Seuff, 32 Fed. Rep. 237; The Non PO'eille, 33 Fed. Rep. 524, 526. The libelant is entitled to a decree against both vessels, with costs.
THE SWITZERLAND. l LA GASCOGNE. COMPAGm GENERALETRANSATLANTIQUE
UEBERWE(}, Master, etc., ",.COMPAGNIE GENERALE 'fRANSATLANTIQUE.
(Di8trict Oourt, E. D. New York. May 6, 188lt)
CoLLISION-BlllTWEEN STEAMERS-OVERTAKING VESSELS.
The SwitzerJandwas going down the bay of New York at the rate of 9 knots an hour. Tb steam-ship La Gaseogne, going down at the rate of 16 knots. had overtaken the Switzerland. and was dra",ing ahead ,.on. her po.rt side, when the vessels came in collision, the bow of the Switzerland striking the starboard q'Qarter of the Gascogne.Oross-libels were filed for the resulting damage. the Gascogne contending that the collision was due to carelessness on the partqf the wheelsman of the Switzerland in allowing her to swing to port as the Gascogne was going by; the Switzerland claiming that the Gliscogne attempted to cross her bows under a port helm when the .distance between the vessels was too small to permit of such a maneuver. .on conflicting evidence. the cQurt fonnd that· the collision was by a iiwing to port on the part of the Switzerland.-which was carrying a port'helm in the strong north-west wind. and which would so swing under such eir·cnmstances by momentary carelessness on the part of the wheelsman.-and therefore held. that the fault for the collision lay with the Switzerland in failing to hold her course.
In Admiralty. Cross-libels for damages by collision. Coudert Bro8., for the Gascogne. . Biddle & Ward, for the Switzerland. BENEDICT, J. These are cross-actions arising out of a collision which .occurred on the 21st day of January, 1888, in the harbor' of New York, not far below the statue of liberty, between the steam-ship Switzerland and the steam-ship La Gascogne. two passenger steamers, at the 'time bound out of the port ofNe'IV York on a voyage to sea. The Gascogne . was the faster vessel, and, having come up with the Switzerland, wa.s passing her on her port side at a distance estimated by various witnesses :at 150 to 300 feet. The bow of the Gascogne had drawn ahea.d, of the
Reported by Edward G. Benedict, Esq., of the New York bal
bow of the Switzerland when"tpe came in' th(:l Swi\zerland's bow striki'ngthe an angle of about 30 degrees. To reC9V!l1-' ,the,4amages resulting from this collision to the respective vessels each vessel has brought an nction against thy other. The collision occurred in broad day, with no other, v,essels to with ,the navigation of either vessel. It is manifest, therefore. that the collision was caused by negligence, but where the negligence was is not so clear. The contention on the part of the Switzerland is that the Gascogne, instead of keeping her course, as she was bound to do, until she -had passed the Switzerland, attempted to cross the Switzerland's bows under a port helm when the distance between the vessels was too small to permit her to accomplil'h such a maneuver in safety. On the 'part of the Gascogne the contention is that while she was passing the Switzerland, and holding her course at a safe , distance, the Switzerland, instelld'ofkeeping her course, as she was bound to dQ, Buddenly swung over Wthe eastward, and struck the Gascogne upon her starboard quarter'. " It is conceded by the advocates on both sides that one of these two conte,ntiQns is true, and each earnestly contends that 'the truth lies upon his side. ' , The testimony is full of contradictions not easy to reconcile. After a careful examination of it in all its aspects, I incline to the opinion that the weight of evidence is on, the side of the Gascogne. Some of the consiQ,erations which have led Q1e to, this conclusion will be mentioned. I observe first that it is, more probable that the Switzerland should have swung over to the east, as the'Gilscogne than that the Gascogne should have attempted to cross the bows oithe Switzerland, as the Switzerland charges. A strong 'north-westwifid was blowing. 'The Switzerland was carrying aport bblm. and tbereis testimony in the case that under such circumstances a'momentary carelessness on, the part of the. men at the wheel would be likely to be followed by a swing of the steamer's head to ,the ealjltward,; which would carry her some distance to the east of her course before it could be stopped by the helm. Such carelessness is denied by those at the wheel of the Switzerland, but many witnesses from the Gascogne testify to such a swing by the Switzerland. There is, indeed, a mass of testimony from the Switzerland going to prove that before she struck the Gascogne her helm was put hard a-port, and l limy witnesses from the Switzerland say that the cause of this port.. ing was a dangerous approach of the Gascogne towards the Switzerland's c9urse. The testimony seems to me to prove that the helm of the Switzerl\lnd was put to port, and th l1t this was done suddenly, under of some it bas not satisfied me that this emergency change of course on the part ,of the On the contrary, iricline to the opinion that the .wheel' of the Switzerland was suddeply . hard a-port to overcome a to eastward. the had taken in the strong wind. Momenjary under the circumstances is sufficient to account for sudia swing a,s the testimonyshows. On the other-hand, the maneuver charged by the Switzerland upon the Gascogne be accounted. for by momentary negli-
genee. If attempted, it must have been the result of a deliberate .design on the Wlrt of those responsible for the navigation of the Gaseogne. Sueh a design, involving as.it did a bringing of the ship's head tip against the wind, and giving her a course acrlJ"S the channel down which she was bound appears to me improbable. The. maneuver, if undertaken as charged, was an act ofgross misconduct deliberately committed·. It was, moreover, wholly uncalled for. There could have been no rivalry between the steamers, inasmuch as the speed of the Switzerland was nine knots, and that of the Gascogne sixteen knots. There was room enough for both vessels on their respective courses, and the Gascogne not only could not gain, but would ,surely lose, by passing to westward across the course of the Switzerland. The testimony does not seem to me to aecount for such a 0D:, of the Gascogne. Moreover, the account given by the witnesses from the Switzerland as to the action of their vessel uQderthe port helm must be incorrect..Tbey say that when their helm was ported their vessel came -up to the wind four or five . :points before the blow, aoo it is proved that the two came together at an angle ofthirty degree§!. The accqunt of the Switzerland tl;lerefore thll:t 'at 'the time of the blow the Gascogneshould be heading somewhat up the channel down which she was bound. Itseelns j to me incredible that the ever have attained .stich·aheading under the The,angle ofincidence. disproves the account given by those\o]1 tpe Switzerland. . ' " ..' Again, tile G¥cogneshows beyond controversy thil£after the Gasoogne had come abreastorthtl Swit7.erland the attention of those on board the Gascogne was no longer directed to the Switzerland;l,tbat· it WAS not until thecourse.8of the two veSllelshad become crossing that the Switzerland was again observed by those on the Gascogne. No signals were given by eith'er vessel.. The !lislJovery on the part of those on the Gascogne that a collision with the Switzerland was: imminent wils substantially accidental, the, attenmon .of all on board,.the, Gascogne having ,been at the time directed ahead, andnbt ·astern,,·.. Such a state of things on the parlof the Gascognecould har:dly have existed if she had been engaged dn a deliberate attempt to cllOSS the bow-sof a steamer approaching her closely from behind. The danger of an attempt to cross the Switzerland's bows uriderthe cirClUmstances would be.lUanifest the moment the maneuver began, and from . that moment· not only the eyes ,ofthose responsible forthe navigation of the Gascogne, but the eyes 'of ,many others on board; the Gascogne would have been' fastened upon the Switzerland. That such was not the case seems to me to show that no such maneuver on the part' of the Gascogne as' is charged by. the Switzerland was in process> of execution, arid, by consequence that :the ofthe·collision was a sudden and unexpected ., SWil)g of- the Switzerland towards the Gasoogne. In arriving ,at this conclusion I havti not overlooked the statement in the libel of the Gascogne that her helm was ported just.before the oollision, nor the';,conftict,of tElStimonyon that pointbehveen the pilot and the master of the Gascogne. But the porting set forth in the liqel"andistated by the master
REPORTER, vol. 38.
will not account for the collision, and, in my opinion, in no way tended to produce it. My conclusion, therefore is that the collision in question was caused by the fault of the Switzerland in not holding her course as she was bound to do. The libel against the Gascogne is accordingly dismissed, and in the action against the Switzerland let a decree in favor of the libelant be entered with au order of reference.
(Diltriot (Jourt, 8. D. NettJ York. June 4, 1889.)
·CoLLISION-BETWEEN BTEAHEBS.,...FAlLURE TO ANSWER SIGNAL.....DUTY TO CnOSSING COURSE.
The st'eam-lighter r., going up the East river near the New York shore, dock, with the ferry-boat R., bOund from ; came in collision, near Hunter's Point to the Seventh·Street slip, and having the right of way. The . ,R. three times gave a of one whistle, when off Thirteenth street, Twelfth no answer until off Eleventh street, when street, and Eleventh street; and she received a signal of two whIstles from the r., which attempted to go near the shore. and the two collided, port bow to, port bow. Heta, both in fanH: the I. for crossing the R, 'll .course,. and keeping to the left, near the shore, without feason; 'the R. for not backing sooner, under inspector's rule 8, or as soon as the l:s intent was made known. ".
In Admiralty. Cross-libels for damages by collision.
BROWN, J. The above are oross-libels, brought by the owners of the lighter International and the terry-boat Rockaway, to recover their respective damages through a collision that occurred betwe.en them a little before 8 o'clockA. M., on March 16,1886, about 100 feet off'the foot of Eighth street. The Rockaway was bound down river from Hunter's Point to her slip at Seventh street; the International was bound up river from pier 9 to Port Morris. The morning being foggy, she kept close along the New York shore. But I find that for 10 minutes before this collision, and from the time the Rockaway left Hunter's Point, the fog had cleared, so as not to cause any embarrassment to navigation. The International maintained her place, however, close along the shore, with'out justification and in violation 'of the state statute that required her to go in mid-river. This course was also an embarrassment to the Rockaway in approaching herslip; and, the International having persisted in this course by a signal of two whistles to cross the bows of the Rockawa.y as ,she approached her slip, and without any assenting response, she must be held in fault. The Rockaway, however, does not satisfy me that she is free from blame in not stopping earlier than she did. When the Inter-