THE JOSEPH STICKNEY.
TlIE HARBY WHITE. LoWELL
THE JOSEPH STICKNEY.
(DistMct Court, S. D. New York. May 14, 1899.)
OoLLISfW'-BTEAK AND BAIL MllllllTING-LIGIlTB-.-CHANGB OP CoURBlL
A scnooner bound east by; night In Long Island sound, with the wind about abeam from ,the southward;' came in oollision, nearly head en, with a tug bound west.'l'beaocounts colllsion as told by those on the respective vessels were wholly irreconcilable. On the evidence as to the courses on which the vessels had previously been salling, and the angle of collision, as to which both sides substantiallyagree, and the lights which each vessel must under the circumstances have exhibited to the other, heUI,'that the schooner must have made a wrongful change of course to the soutbwai'd, probably through some mistake in giving or receiving _orders. after the ha4 reached that side of the schooner's course, and that suoh ohange of course caused the collision; and that the tug was not in fault for a change
in extIrerwi.8. ' '
In Admiralty.'. collision. Dismissed. H. D,Hol(c'hkWJ andE'ugene P.Carver, for libelant. McCarthy &; Perier and Harrington Putnam, for the Joseph Stickney.
BROWN, District about 8 P. M. in the evening of March 22,1892, the Jibelant's schooner :Harry White, bound eastward in Long Island sound, with the wind about ,abeam from the southward, came in collision, whenll,bout seven miles east-southcast ffom the Watch Hill beacoq, with the steam tl,lg Josepn Stickney, bOUDp, west, and soon after sank with ,her cargo, and became a total loss. The above libel was filed to recover the damages. The night was overQast, dark, anll good for seeing lights; the wind, about south by west. Stickney had in tow two barges and a brig. The first barge was on a hawser of 100 fathoms; the .second barge, a!!tem of the former, was on a- hawser of 60 fathoms; and the brig, astern of the latter, was on a haWller of about 60 fathoms. The tug displayed the white vertical lights indicating a tow, besides the usual colored side l;1adthe usual colored sidelights. Thetug and lights; and schooner were each going through the water at the rate of about five knots per bour. The evidence for the schooner 1s to the effect,that the white lights of the tug were made about. a half hOUT before collision, some five miles off, anJ bearing about tWQPointson the port bow of the schooner; that 10 or afterwards the red light was seen on the same bearing, and at the same time the red light of the brig in that the schooner tpereupon luffed. a qUarter of a point so as to make her course east t south, which course. she kept until tl),e tug was snug up to ber, when the tug blew two short blasts of her whistle; that up to that time the red light had been visible, but the green light, and that then the tug changed her course 80 as to sllow her green light; that the vessels were
then too near to avoid collision; that the schooner thereupon luft'ed to make the speediest change; and that the tug's stem struck the schooner's port bow, angling a little across the schooner towards her starboard side. The evidence for the tug is to the eft'ect that the green light of the schooner was seen two or three miles oft', 1 i points on the tug's starboard bow; that the tug was then upon a course of west i south, being t of a point more to the southward than the regular course, on account of the southerly wind; that about 10 minutes afterwards the glimmer of a red light was seen in addition to the green light, which was still plainly visible about two points oft'the starboard bow, estimated to be three quarters of.amile distant; that the tug then blew a signal of two whistles, indicating that they should pass starboard to starboard; that the glimmer of the red light showed about half a minute or less, and then disappeared, leaving the green light alone visible as before; that when at a distance estimated to be about 300 feet, the hull came in view and was noticed to be swinging to the southward; that a signal of two whistles was again given that the schooner might go to port, and that the engines were at the same time stopped; that the schooner did not turn to port, but more to starboard, so that very speedily the green light disappeared, and the red light came in view; whereupon the tug put her helm hard aport, which continued so until c!)llision, the heading of the tug changing some four or five points to the northward; and that the blow of collision was at an angle of about 1 t points, substantially as stated by the libelant's witnesses; that if the schooner had kept her course, shl;l would have passed easily to the northward of the tug and tow; that the tug at no time changed her course to the southward, as the bearing of the schooner continued to broadep somewhat till the vessels were near together, indicating that they would pass each other safely without any starboarding of the tug. The two versions of the mode in which the vessels approached each other, and of the lights that were seen or visible, are wholly irreconcilable; nor does the story of either side, as it stands, account for the collision. A plot of the navigation will make this clear. Assuming that the previous courses are correctly stated, they varied when the vessels were a mile apart a point and a half from opposite. If, therefore, the schooner's green light was seen 1 t points on the tug's starboard bow, the tug must have then been directly ahead of the schooner and already crossing the line of her course; and the tug, diverging It points, would have been, when the two had come within 300 feet of abreast of each other, over 900 feet to the southward of the schooner; and without some prior change of course, they could not then have come into collision had they tried. So on the other hand, had the tug's lights been seen when a mile distant two points on the schooner's port bow, as the latter's witnesses assert, the schooner when abreast of the tug, both running upon the courses stated, would .have been 1,400 feet to the southward of the tug; had they been seen a point and a half on the port bow, they would have been, when abreast, 900 feetdistantj if one point.on the port bow, about 250 v.50F.no.8-40
l.eetd3stfmt"jrlneither:cas8 always on the improbable that the .' tug tug's, pdxrtho'W';"'lmd on that bearing iUs wbuld,haVeideliberatelyBteered to the'left'to run down the schooner; if ,the schooner was going any suchconsiderahledistanceto the southwa.rd; nor in :tihat case could the collision have' possibly hSllpened at the angle at which it did happen. Manifestly neither of these accounts can be accepted., '., In the contradiction that exists as to the lights visible and the bow over.wbieh the lights were si¥n,: the only certain guide that the evidence furnishes is the fact upori which b6th vessels substantially agree; namely, that attha moment of collision they were nearly head and head, divergingthetefrom by a small angle only; and the fact that the tug's stem in striking1theport bow of the schooner pointed a little across towards the schooner's 'starboard side. The pilot of the tug, in placing models to H points; and the testiillustrate.tbe position, makelktbe mony'of,theschooner's witnesses is not substantially different. As the previouseour8'esof the two 'diverged a point and a half Qnly, it follows thaUomaintain the same angle at collision, they must have changed tliesameamount in opposite directions. All the witnesses agree that the schooner luffed· and turned to the southward. It follows thatthetng's :change must have been ,to the northward. as her witnesses testify. ' The 8mountof, the change ofcoursehy either is a matter of dispute. The captain' of the schooner estimates his change at only one and a half points;, but tHe pH!>t of: the' tug testifies that at'collision he was heading northwest ... north,which would make his change, and consequently the,schooner'sehlinge, five points. 'ldllubt theacouracy of the pilot's think the change probably two points lessi an error easily made under the excitement of collision. But whatever be the amount of the change by either, it is manifest that the witnesses for the schooner are mistaken when 'they say that the tug changed to the southward. ; The angle ofcollisioti proves. that her change was to the northltprbves furthertJsince the schooner had changed to the southward and the tug. to the northward, that prior to these changes the tug musthavecroilsM to the southward of the line of the schooner's coursei and thlit fact being established, it follows,as the vessels were moving· through tbe water at about the same speed, that the tug's green light visible totbe schoonerjand her red light not must have visible. " The tug'saccounHs credible with a correction of half a point in the estimate of the bearing of the schooner on the tug's starboard bow. The bearing of a point on her starboard bow when a mile distant, instead ot a point and,ahaldi.;,rulfiHs'aU the cQJlrlitions of tbesituation,'except that in thatposimon the red light of the schooner ought to have been visible all the timer ali well as the green light, 'supposing,:thatthe line of visibility ·of light crossed to pbrt at the common angle of a half a point. Tbeschooner's lights were set inlier fore: rigging; she wassailing. on her j:lwboa,rq tack; and t4e red light: might therefore have been
THE ,JOSEPH STICKNEY.
obscured by her head sails; if at the distance of 8 mile, the red light would continue to be obscured until shortly before the collision, inasmuch as the schooner's bearing would continue to broaden. oft' slowly upon the tug's starboard bow, as they approached each other; Such seems to me to be upon the testimony the most probable account of this collision. If the schooner's red light was visible, it is increqible that the persons on the tug who were watching her, who were governing their navigation accordingly, and were giving signals to her, should not have seen it; and if it had been seen, along with the green light, there was no possible motive for the tug to go to the left, rather than to the right. Several witnesses from the tug testify that no red light on the schooner was seen until after her luff shortly before collision. The rest of the account of the tug's witnesses, with the modification suggested of the bearing upon the port how, accounts naturally for the collision, and the angle at which it actually took place. The schooner's story, on the other hand, is incapable of being made to account for the collision by any reasonable correction of the estimates of her witnesses as to the bearing, or the lights, alleged to have been seen. There was nothing to obscure the colored lights of the tug; and it is impossible that the collision could have occuTred in the way it did occur, had not the tug's green light, from the time when it was a mile distant, been visible about half a point on the schooner's port bow, and the tug's red light not visible at all. The. schooner's account is in every way not credible, nor consistent with the most certain facts. I find it impossible, therefore, to place any confidence in her version. Why the schooner should have turned to the southward when the tug had already crossed to that side of her, ('an only be accounted 10r by some mistake either in giving or obeying orders. The helmsman has not been called as a witness. Such mistakes are by no means unknown; and the different modes of rigging the helm, and the uifferent practices of foreij:tIl seHmen, sometimes make such mistakes natural. Upon the foregoing view of the 1acts, I must find the collision to have occurred from the 1ault of the schooner in changinll; her course. Had she kept her course, the tug would have passed at least 300 feet clear of her to the southward. The line of her course would have met that of the tow 1,000 feet astern; and a change of course a half a point to port would have cleared the whole tow without difficulty. The signal of two whistles twice given by the tug indicating that she would go to port, did not induce the schooner's change of course, nor influence ber in any way. It was designed to induce the schooner to turn to the northward. But the schooner continued her change to southward; and as the tug's signal in no way changed the schooner'l:l action, it is not material whether the tug's change to the northward was consistent with her previous signal or not; and it is, therefore, immaterial. The pilot of the tug, seeing that the schooner persisted in her luff, turned to the northward, because in his judgment he was otherwise likely to be run down. Whether that be so or not, the vessels were then so near each other that any mistake in that respect is not attributa-
ble to the tug as a fault, but, if erroneous, m.ust be borne by the schooner, whose previous fault in changing het course to the southward brought it about. Libel dismissed, with costs.
THE BUFFALO. HYLAND V. TuG
AND THE BUFFALO.
(District Oourt, S. D. New York. April 29, 1899.)
Tow. A tugbOl1otcl1011ed "No. 18," was going up the river, with a barge on her port side. The pilot house of the barge hid the red light of the tutl' from the tug Buffalo, which was crossing from Jersey City to New York, and haa No. IS on her starboard hand, so that the,vessels were not seen till within 400 or 500 feet of each other. The vessels in tow of the tugs collided. Hela, that No. 13 was navigating in violation of the rule that requires lights to be visible for 10 points around the horizon; that she took the risk of such condition of her lights. and was solely liable for the collision.
In Admiralty. Ubel by Josiah A. Hyland against the steam tug "Buffalo and Tug No. 13 forcollisiou. Decree for libelant against Tug No. 13. Hyland&: Zabri8kie, for libelant. fVllcox, Ada'm8 &: Green, for The Buffalo. Frank Loomis aodMr. Mosher, for The Tug
BROWN, District Judge. At a little before 4 o'clock in the morning of December 29, 1891, as the steam tug Buffalo, with two floats, one on each side. loaded with raihoad cars, was on her way from the dock abov-e Pavoniafim'Y, Jersey City, to Duane street, N. Y., her starboard float came in collision with the libelant's barge Verona, which was going up the North river in tow of Tug No. 13, and on her port side. at a point about 400 feet off from, and a little above, the Duane street pier. The 'starboard bow of the Buffalo's starboard float struck the port bow of the Verona, and eansed damages for which the above libel was filed. ' The weather was clear and mild. The coUrses of the two tugs. were crossing each other so as to involve risk of collision·· The Buffalo had 'No. 13 the starboard hand, and it was the duty of the former to keep 'out of thewEi.y, provided she had means of knowing of the approach of No. 13andhertow. The. defense of the Buffalo is that she had no 'lneans of knowing this; because. as she contends, the red light ofNo. 18; which ought to have been visible to apprise her of the presence and :of the <lourse·of No. 13, was obscured by the pilot house of the barge on the port sideo! No. 13, until too late til avoid collision. The evidenee shows that the pilot house of the Verona was higher than the (jolored lightscQf.No. ;13, which were on the pilothouse of the latter;