vol. 44. .; " . !
in thei9alle of the Devereaux on this occasion. WefuJlther 'agree that the.lillldden and violent shel'll. of the Devereaux would not likely be caused by or influence, that her maste.!'; froUl the moment 8h e began to sheer, directed her movements in a skillful and seamanlike manner, We further ;find that, while not actually anticipating such It sheer, he nevertheless had his vessel properlyoin hand, and ready to counteract such movemellt promptly. W f! are further of the opinion that the tendency to sheer from suction in that channel by vessels passing under the conditions of this case was well. known by skillful seamen, and that-the master of the Mitchell should have considered it possible, if not probable,' on the pal't .of the Devereaux, and have so Jar guarded against it as to have had his own vesst'! inperfeet control, ,and her wheel on the starboard, so as to have headed his vessel to port, and kave been able to put her in that conrse promptly when the emergency made it necessary. We are also of the opinion that, with the wind blowing from the direction and with the velocity heretofore stated, it was gross negligence on the part of the master of the Folsom to have towed his consorts thrpugh that channel with sails set and drawing, as hereinbefore found. We are further .of the opinion that the speed at which said Folsom and tow were proceeding was too great, that it<contributed mainly to cause the suctiqn which urew tlH! Devereaux from her course"and was the proximatec!J,use of the collision. We are further of the opinion that the Devereaux was without fault, and was managed at the time withprudence and proper skill. . Thecoutt therefore finds that the allegations of the libel are true so far as found and stated in this opinion, and a decree will be prepared !luda reference to commissioner to hear testimony and report daUlages the 'Devereaux has' sustained by reason of the negligence and wrongful acts of the Folsom and her consort, the Mitchell·.
j t would naturally. have the effect on one of the vessEll$; aa ;shown
N. & B. S. S. Co.
(Diatrict Oourt, E. D. North Oarolina. January.15, 189L)
COLUSION-BETWEEN STEAMERS-RIVER BEND-,SIGNALB.
Two steam-boats, the M. and the L., collided at a bend of the river, having sighted each other for the first time when they were 100 yards apart. The master, pilot, and two of the crew of the M. testified that she sounded a long blast of her whistle when half a mile from the bend, as required by rule 5 of the board of supervising inspeotors·.. Themaster,.pilot, engineer, and five of the crew of the L. testified that it was their boat that soundEld the bend signal. Two disinterested witnesses. who were standing on a wharf, waiting for the L., testified that they knew the whistles of the two steamers; that .they heard the signals given at the time of the collision; and that immediately before it they heard the L. give the bend signal, but none was given by the M. The engineer of the M. testified that he did not remember any bend signal from his boat. Held, that the M. was in fault.
ROANOKE, N. & B. 8. 8.
V. THB LUCY.
Admiralty. AlberUlon &; Son and Prufjen &; Vann,. for libelants. Sharp &; Hughes, for claimant.
SEYMOUR, J. Cross-libels have been filed for damages caused by a collision between the steam-boats Meteor and Lucy, which occurred on the Roanoke river. The place was a bend in the river, two and a half miles below Williamston, and the time of dav about 3 o'clock of the afternoon. The two steamf'rs met at the very point of the bend. Upon the testimony of both parties they did not E'ight onEjanotheruntil about 100 yards apart. Supposing their joint speed to have been 10 an hour, it would have brought them together within 20 seconds. The Meteor waS going down stream, the Lucy up. Both were evidently hugging. bend, or they would have seen one.another at a greater distance than 3pO feet. It is daimed that the Lqcy committed an error in blowone, blast of her whistle, thereby signaling the Meteor that she intended to paE's her port to port; thllt is, on the inside of the bend. It is tbat if she had passed to the left she might have succeeded in crossing the Meteor's bow, and have avoided being sunk by her. This would depend very muchupoll the relative speed of the boats, concerning which we have no evidence. It is also possible that in such case sbe would have been struck by the bow of the Meteor. It is not necessary to determine the point, even if it were possible to do so, for the error in judgment, if it were one, was committed in extremw, and cannot be considered a fault. As for the allegation that the pilot of the Lucy left the pilot-house before the moment oJ collision, I do not credit it. It is denied by all on his boat, and is not probable in itself. I have formed the .Bame judgment respecting the alleged error of the pilot of the Meteor in backing after acqepting, as he says he did, the signal of the L\lcy to pass port to I>9rt, ·It is barely possible that hy continuing !!.t full speed he might bavEJ crossed the Lucy's bows; but the probability is th!!.t the Meteor would, in such case, have been struck amidship of near her bow·. with greateljdamage than that actuany received. But if there were an error of judgment committed in the 20 .seconds or 80 between the time when the boats became aware of one another's vicinity and the collision, it cannot be considered as a fault, technically so termed, and will· not subject to damages. But nndoubtedlya fault was committed by one. or both of the vessels before reaching the bend, and to that the collision must be attributed. By the fifth rule of the board of supervising inspectors it is provided that whenever a steamer is nearing a short .bend or curve in the channel where a steamer approaching from the opposite direction .cannot be seen for a distance of half a mile, the pilot of such lilteamer shall, within half a mile of such bend, give a signal by a long of the steam whistle. If such signal shall be answered by a like blast by the pilot of any approaching vessel, the usual signals for meeting and passing shall immediately be given and answered. If both boats gave the required signal, both were equally at fault in not having subsequently, upon hearing that of the other, given the usual signals for
meeting and passing. I assume it to be impossible that either boat could have sounded its whistle without having been heard by those on the other had they been attentive to their duty. Evidence shows thai blasts of the whistle at the time of the collision were heard at a mucl groorer distance. If only one boat sounded, and no answering blast was given, that boat is free from fault, and the liability must rest on the other. Upon this point the witnesses llre in direct conflict. The pilot, master, and two of the crew of the Meteor testify that the Meteor sounded a long blast of her whistle before coming to the bend, and that the Lucy did not. The pilot, master, engineer, and five hands on the Lucy testify that it was their boat which sounded a blast before coming to the bend, and that the Meteor did not. I do not lay stress upon the numerical superiority of forces on the Lucy's side. It was her fortune to have a larger crew to swear. The hands, being seafaring men, would . naturally think they had heard what their officers had heard. In this state of the evidence I am influenced by two witnesses, who seemed to be impartial, who have no interest in the case, and who happen to have heard the Whistles blown just before the collision. Harry Bond and Knowledge Barrow were standing on the river wharf at Williamston waiting for the arrival of the Lucy, on which they intended to go to their place of employment, a lumber-yard further up the river. They say they knew the whistles of the steamers, and that they heard the signals given immediately before the collision. Both of them say that just before; they heard the Lucy give one bend whistle, and that the Meteor gave no bend whistle. Their employment near the river, and habit of traveling on and listening to river boats, make their statement that they knew the whistle of the Lucy entirely credible. Some significance can also be attached to the fact that the engineer of the Meteor has no recollection of a bend whistle sounded by his boat. It is true that he says he pays no attention to whistles,and that it might have been blown without his noticing it. This may be true, but. on the other hand. the fact that a collision immediately 1ollowed the time when the whistle ought to have been. sounded renders it quite probable that his attention would have been called to the matter. If he did not observe at the time whether his boat had or had not signaled for the bend, it roay be it was because such was not her usual habit. On the whole evi. dt·nce lam of the opinion that the Lucy did and the Meteor did not sO'llldalong blast for the'bend; that the only fault committed was the Meteor's failure to so signal, and that such failure brought about the col. lision;that the collision, from the moment the boats sighted one another, was inevitable, or, if there was any error then committed, it was one of judgment, in an extremity, and not imputable as a fault; and that thereforejUdgment must be rendered dismissing the libel of the Meteor, with costs. .As for the cross-libel, which, it was agreed, should abide the determination of this suit, I make no direction, as it is pending in the eastern district of Virginia.
THE OPHELIA. l
THE MIDDLETOWN. KINNEAR V. STATEN ISI,AND RAPID TRANSIT R. CO.
(District Court, S. D. New York. January 21,1891.)
Where a ferry-boat, in a dense fog, ran into a bark, which was anchored within the prescribed limits of the anchorage ground in the bay of New York, and whose position was well known to the pilot of the ferry-boat, held, that the ferry-boat should have kept off tbe anchora!(e ground entirely, as she could have done. and that the ferry-boat was therefore in fault for the eollision.
SAME-Foo-BELLS-FREQUENCy-INSPECTORS' RULE-LoOKOUT-CHANGE oi' WATCH.
A bark, lying at anchor in a fog so dense that objects could not be distinguished 50 feet distant. and in a position where boats were obliged frequently to pass near her, .rang her fog bells every three or four minutes. Held, that in such situation there was a necessity for more ft'equent bells than are prescribed by the international regulations, which require the bell to be rung only once every five minutes. No whistle was noticed by those on the bark. though the ferry-boat while approaching whistied every half minute. Held. that the bark was also in fault for not ringing the bell as often as required by the inspectors' rules, aud for bad lookout at the time of a change in the watch.
Suit for damages by collision.
Wilcox, Adams &: Macklin, for libelant. Tracy, Macfarland, Ivins, Boardman &: PlaU, for respondent.
BROWN, J. Near midnight of November 6, 1890, while the libelant's bark Ophelia, shortly before arrn-ed from sea, lay at anchor abreast of Bedloe's island, a little within the prescribed limits for anchorage ground, she was run into, in a dense fog, by the respondent's ferry-boat Middletown, bound from the Battery to Staten island, and sustained damages for which the above libel was filed. Without discussing in detail the conflicts of testimony, I find the following faults in both: 1. The precise point where the Ophelia lay being known to the pilot of the ferry-boat, as she had passed her several times in clear weather during the 12 hours preceding, it was the duty of the ferry-boat to have kept further to the eastward, as she might and should have done, the ranges being accurately known, and there being no necessity for the ferry-boat to cross any part of the prescribed anchorage ground, and there being abundant water to the eastward of its exterior limit. The Bedford, 5 Blatchf. 200; The Exchange, 10 Blatchf. 168. 2. The bell upon the Ophelia was not sufficiently rung to answer the requirements of reasonable prudence, and of a reasonable necessity, when she lay anchored in such a fair way in a dense fog. The fog was so dense that objects, exeepting lights, could not be distinguished 50 feet distant; and lights at a very short distance only, probably not exceeding 200 feet. The evidence does not show that at the time the ferr).. -boat
Reported by Edward G. Benedict, Esq., of the New York bar.