, tHE J. E. TRUDEAU.
(DiStrict Oourt, B. D.
January 11, 1892.)
CoLLISION-MISSISSIPPI BTE,6.M-BoAT-VES8EL AT LANDING,
The steam-boat Trudeau','dliscending the Mississippi, attempted to land at the foot of Canal street, New Orleans, but caught an obstruction in her rudder, became unmanageable, and ran into" tug-boat lying at a wharf. Opposite and above this landing is a strong eddy, well known to boatmen, and the ullual and prudent courae is ,for'descending boats to keep outside of it nntil pastthelandinj1;, and then to turn and approach it from bel\>}\'. The Trudeau, however, kept in the eddY,and at"tempted to turn opposite the point of landing. Beld, that the collision Wall not an inevitable accident, but was due to the prior fault of the Trudeau.
In Admiralty. Libel by Thomas Pickles, as Qwner of the Josiejagainst the steam-boat J. E. for damages for a, Decree for libelant. Jamt8McConneU and, Ji}ank N.pt#J,er, for libelant. : Joa. P., H(JT"fuYr and,' Guy ,M. HO'I'IfI(W',. for claim!l-nts.'
BILLIl¢GS, J. This i&a libel by the owners of the tug-boat Josie against the steam-boatJ.E,Trudeau for damages for a collision. "The libel sets out that on January 31, 1890, the Josie, which was ,Wllld 'as, a night ferry"boat plying between IS'e,w, Orleans and: Algiers, was !poored at her wharf in this city at the foot of Canal street, when she was run the want of skill and negligelfce into and sunk, and totally, lost, of those who were in of the Trudeau. The answer admits the (}ollision l but avers it was the respJtof an accident; that "a log or Bome obstruction, Qf ,that, character was in the rudder of the Trudeau, and so blocked it that it became unmanageable, and th'e wheel oould,n()tbe movedolle way or tpeother;" it is in substance averred, in ,spite Qr. aU ;tbe,qfl'orts qj, the officers: o(theTruqeau, gyided by all the'requisite skill, the collision took place. It is to be observed that itis conceded by the pleadings that the Josie, which was moored at her wharf, was guilty of fault; that the Trudeau rim into her; and the only question presented is whether the Trudeau was so situated that what damage she did should be deemed an inevitable accident. It is ,said she became nnmanageable by reason of a log or some similar obstruction getting afoul of her helm. I think this general fact is estab.lished, that for some reason, for a certain length of time, and just before the collision, the helm was unmovable; and it may be that, if no anterior facts existed which cast blame upon the claimants' steamer, this impossibility of controlling the movements of the vessel by the helm might have brought her owners within that class of persons whose property .does damage to that of others through inevitable accident,-vis major,and that thus they would be exonerated from liability. This presents -the most important question of fact in the case, which I have tried to
thoroughly consider,-whether, notwithstanding the catching of the log by the helm, the collision ttdgbt not hate beell avoided if the preceding management of the Trudeau had been such as proper skill in navigation required. The weight of evidence shows that. opposite and above the point of the landing which the Trudeau was endeavoring to make, there was a large and powerful eddy,well known to the navigators of the Mississippi river; that the usual and prudent course of descending boats desiring to make a landing this point was to keep outside Of the eddy, i. e., furtbertowards the AIgjers side than the eddy, and fall a little below the point of. landinj?;, ,and then turn and proceed to the)andirg through the eddy 'a little upstream. There is conflict of testimony, but I think the preponderance and the reason, of the thing tend to establish this mode of proceeding as being the proper and safe mode. This was not the"mode resorted to by the Trudeau. She kept in the eddy, and attempted to 'turn towards tnepoint oflanding while within the eddy, and at a' point 110t below but opposite'to it. Had she ltept, (l)utside of the eddy, and kept on t9 a voint below Canal street, so that her turning and her motion towards 'her landing would have been would have been a little upstream, though her helm became incapable of governing, the, motion of the vessel, the wheel might nevertheless have been: made,shn ply by its reVolutions, to have prevented the Trudeall from 'running intoth,e\lhsie. 'No question was made at the argument but that, and I think irinettled, as a rule of law,that, incases of collision it is the effici'etit, controlling management of the vessel·charged. with fault which must be looked at,arid that,though her management at the very moment ofol' filr a few moments preceding the collision was faultless. neverthelesslf her anterior and controlling management contributed to was injUdiCious, and lacking in skill or in the observthe disaster, ,lince of the kn'Own methods of navigation, either local or general, she is 'deemed to be.in fault. ' I think this principle of law upon the evidence leaves a cRseeaiablished agaipst the Trudeau. Judgment will therefore be entered.in favor of theUbelant, and against the claimants. C',: .