.REPORTER , vol. 51.
THE HERCULES. THE BRANDON. THE HERCULES
,(DiBtrictCourt. D. South CaroZina. July 29,1892.)
The tug H., having left·ashlp about the middle of Cooper river, off the wharf front, of Charleston, S.C., was proceeding down stream in a curve towards her berth, with her wheel harcl aport. While on this course, and about a. quarter of a mile from and beading towards the wharf front, the tug ·B. was also proceeding downward, and muehnearer to the piers, bound for her berth. below that. of the H. The B. blew 9ne blast'1Vhioh was answered by one from the H., and the B. then ported. Soon after the H; gave two blasts, not to indicate that she would direct her course to port, according totbe rules of but to induce the B. ·to under her, stern. The B. ,answered with one'blast, ana each tug kept its course. Collision impending, both stopped and reversed, but the B. struck the H., causing injury to both. HeW, that the H., having the .1:1. on her starboard side, was bound to keep out of the vvay; that. she was in fault in giving the two blasts, and keeping her course;'and that the B. was'also in fault for notsta.rboa.rding, as she might have done; when she saw that the H. was crossing her bow; for under rule 23 a has no ,rigjlt to run int,ocol1ision for the enforcement of ber right of way.
In Admiralty. Cross libels for collision. Decree for divided damages. Bryan &: Bryan, for libelanL MitcheU &: Smith and W. H. Park,er, for respondent. SIMONTON, District J udge. i:;l a libel and· cross .libel for collision in Cooper riv;er, ,on the wharf front of the city of Cha-deston. It is well to explain the topography of that portion of this wharf front where the collision occurred. COIl;1ing down the rjver to the southward, and passing a heads, with docks adjacent, we reach Atlantic 1Vharves, with, pier heads and llpcks between., . ,:aelow Atlantic wharf, aqd next to that one of tllem known as "S'Quth Atlantic Wharf," is Boyce's wharf, with two pier heads and intervening docks. Then come Adgers' North wharf and dock, and Adgers' South wharf. Below this last are Commercial wharves. Between each pier head is a dock hold two seagoing vessels of size, abreast of each other. wide enough The distance between South Atlantic dock and Adgers' South wharf is nearly 300 yards. Cooper river, at the place opposite these docks, is about a mile wide,-a little more, perhaps. On the morning of the 29th October, 1891, a little before 7 o'clock, the steam tug Hercules left a steamship lying in midstream, opposite Atlantic wharves, started down the river, and proceeded to her own berth, at South Atlantic wharf. Her purpose, on reaching the dock, was to back into her berth. Her course, after leaving the steamship, was on a curve. Her wheel was put hard aport, and she was gc>' ing, her master says, at half speed , say 5! miles an hour. When she was on this curve, about half way from the steamship, probably a quarter of a
mile from and heading towards the wharf front, the steam tug Brandon was on her way along the wharf front going down the river, to her berth at South Commercial wharf. Seeing the lights of the Hercules, which was then off her port bow to the southeast, she herself being then off Atlantic wharf about 125 yards, the Brandon blew one blast of her whistle, which was answered by one blast from the Hercules. The Brandon then ported. The Hercules, from the time of this first blast, showed only her green light to the Brandon; and in a few seconds, after answering the blast, she blew two w:1istles to the Brandon, which the latter vessel answered with but one. Collision impending, both tugs stopped and reversed. They came together, just off Adgers' South wharf, the Brandon striking the Hercules on her starboard side, about 25 feet from her stern, with her bow, at a slight angle. Both tugs were injured, the Hercules much worse than the Brandon. Until the moment before the collision the tugs kept up their speed. As we have seen, tha.t of the Hercules was 5! miles an hour. The Brandon was going from 3! to 4 miles an hour, and with the ebb tide. When the facts of a case of collision are established, the application of the law is easy. The numberless cases on this subject have settled the principles applicable to it. The rules of navigation are established to pre. vent the possibility of a collision. In the nature of things, they cannot meet every emergency. In obeying and construing these rules, due regard should be had to all the dangers of navigation, and to any special circumstances which may render a departure from the rules necessary in order to avoid immediate danger. Rule 23. If one of the vesssls approaching each other commit errors, this will not excuse the other from using every proper precaution to prevent a collision. The Maria Martin, 12 Wall. 31. In The America, 92 U. S. 432, Mr. Justice CLIFFORD say!l: "Sailing rules were ordained to prevent collisions between ships employed in naVigation, and to preserve life and property em barked in that perilous pursuit. and not to enable those whose duty it is to adopt. if possible. the necessary precautions to avoid such a disastpr, to determine how little they can do in that direction without becoming responsible for its consequences. in case it occurs. " The two steamers were proceeding on converging lines,-the Brandon going down Cooper river, southwardly 125 yards from the wharf; the Hercules to the southeast of her, one quarter of a mile from the wharf, proceeding towards her own dock, opposite to which, and between it and the Hercules, was the Brandon when she blew her first whistle. The Hercules had the Brandon on her starboard side. Her duty was to keep out of the way of the Brandon. Article 16. The Brandon gave notice by her one blast that she was porting her wheel. The Hercules, answering it, expressed that she so understood. In effect, the blast said, "Your duty is to keep out of my way. To enahle you to do this. I tell you what I am doing." The return blast, in effect, answered, "I understand, and will cond uct myself accordingly." There is no evidence whatever that the Hercules changed her course, or took any pre-
<lallti/tnTtCjl;r#eftp'Q}.1,tof- the way of the Brandon. Ih fact, she ,kept on her, l -hard ,down, without change. ' She' blew . twowhistleEli .it is :true,iButthes6 Were giveo,llot as indicating any action on b.t=lrp$;rt l but to induce the Brandon to :go under her stern. Article 19 blasts.indicatewhlltthe vessel .them intends to do,--tWI)"sQ.prtblasts to mean, ,'.'.1 am directing my, course to part,"oot neglect of the rule puts her in fault. The down the stream, and signaling to the Hercules, aport, But she ,saw that the Hercules, instead of going WM crossing her path. She saw and recognized the error the Hercules was committing,., It then became her duty,.notwithstanding this error, to use eyeryprecaution to avoid collision. The Maria Marti,n,8ttpra. Thill special circumstance rendered a departure from the rules necessary. She was in close vicinity of wharves on her starboard,side. ,Great caution, therefore, was necessary. Inspection Rules, p. 46. The green light 'of the Hercules was the only one visible, almost direcUyq[ the bow of the Brandon. ,This indicatedtha.t the Hercules every minute getting 11learer the wharves. The course of the BrandonWlllil,«lnstll-ntly diminishing her distance from them. It also showed thatt.heaer9ules WM almost directly ahead ofth'e Brandon,-in her,p$.tli. irA cht\nge of the wheel of the latter, from port to starboard, would have.f,tvoided all risk of collision. If no change was made, a collision was inevitable. The Brandon kept on ner course without any change whatever. In this' she violated' article 23. The duty i!'l to avoid the collision, by observing the rules primarily, by departing from them, if necessary,. to avoid danger. The master of the Brandon says that he saw the green light of the Hercules for two minutes before the collision. If he had starboardedhis wheel, he would have passed astern of her. He this, and was in fault. .He had no right to run into collision for the'enforcement.of his right of way. The C. R. Stone, 49 Fed. Rep. 475. Oollisionsinvolve the destruction of life, as well as of property. .It is for the interest of humanity that they be, prevented. All parties concerned in them should he held to rigid accountability. In order to escape all responsibility for a collision, one must be wholly without fault. He must not only be guiltless of any error,which may bring about risk of collision, but he must also take all necessary steps to avoid a threatened collision, if it be' possible. It is ordered that costs and damages in thisca.se be divided between the libelant and respondent. Let E. M. Seabrook take testimony as to the damages sustained by each tug, and .the same' to this court.
BOSTON TOWBOAT Co. 17. THE CHARWTTE.
(DtBtr!ct court, D. Maryland. .May 30. 1892.)
Up-on ,the facts foundbv the court, 'the steamer Charlotte, heUZ solely in fault for a collision with a large 'coal barge, towed by a tug alongside, in the bend of the Bl'ljwerton channel at the entrance ioto thecut"ofl' channel of the Patapsco river. , Bel(i. the sl1\'lep of. the Charlotte. a.t 14 miles an hour, was too great, in meetinga tug lDcumMred w1th a heavy tow 10 a turn of a channel.
SAME---'SlIllER OF STEAMER.
AND TOW-SPEED OF STEAMER.
Held, that the testimony indicates that the Charlotte in making the tum took a sheer towar<:ls the barge, which her high speed made it impossible to overCome in time to avoid the collision. ' . Held, that the method of towing the barge by quarter was proper. ' '
the tug alongside on her
4. SAME-SIULLFULNESS OJ!' MASTER-PILOT'S LICENSll.
Held, that the master of the tug was competent for the duties he was performing, and that the fact that he did not have a pilot'sliceose for the Chesapeake bay was immaterial.
(Syllabus by the Cowrt.)
In Admiraltv. Cross libels for collision. Robert H. Smith, for libelant. John H. Thomas &; Son, for respondent.
MORRIS, District Judge. These are cross libels arising from a collision in the Patapsco river on the morning of April 24, 1892, between the iron coal barge Lone Star, in tow of the steam tug Mercury, and the steamer Charlotte. The collision was just at the turn from the Brewerton into the cut-off channel, near black buoy 19. The barge was 281 feet long and 88 feet beam, loaded with 2,811 tons of coal, and drawing 18I feet of water. She had the tug alongside on her starboard quarter, and was making not over four miles an hour. She was bound out on a voyage from Baltimore to New York. The Charlotte is a propeller 240 feet long, and was on her regular trip from York river to Baltimore, drawing 12I feet of water, and making, until she slowed before the collision, from 14 to 15 miles an hour. The bow of the Charlotte struck the port quarter of the barge about 40 feet from the stern, tearing off one of her iron plates, aod cutting into her so that she soon sank. The damage to the Charlotte was slight. The master of the tug was on board the barge, and the master of the barge was in charge of the navigation, and they were both either in or just outside the barge's pilothouse, which is 40 teet from her bow. The weather was fine, the morning clear, and at the time of the collision it was broad daylight. The libel, on behalf of the barge and tug, states that they were going down the Brewerton channel about half past 7 in the morning, approaching the bend at the lower end, where it connects with the cut-off channel, when