V. UNITED STATES.
(Circuit Court, E. D. Pennsylvania.
July I, 1892
Towing into port a lightship whicb had broken adrift during a severe storm, and been carried put. to sea, is not a salvage service, wben the lightship was not in peril when she was taken into tow, and could, with a little delay, have reached a lJlace of safety without assistance. .
2,. TOWAGE 8ERVICIlls--COMPENSATION.
In determining .the compensation for a towage service, the value of the towing vessel and cargo, the risk incurred, the fact that the vessel was not intended or adapted for. towage service, thecbanoe.pf endangering the towing vessel's insurance, the time spent in and the danger incurred by lying by the vessel towed before the towing could commence, and the time spent in deviating from her course, 'may be· considered, although: thesetvice rendered does not amount to a salvage service.
Act March 3, St. at Large, 'p. 505,) by LawrAnce Murray, master of the British Viola, to recover for services ren!lered in United States lightship No. 45 into port. Decree for libelant·. John F: Lewis, (Curtis Tilton;' of Qounsel,) for libelant, cited, as to what a service:: The Saragosaa, 1 Ben. 551; The Charles Adolphe, SW!lb; 155j The Reward, 1 W. Rob. 177; The Charlotte, 3 W. 71. Robert Rulston,Asst. U. S. Atty., and Ellery P. Ingham, U. S. Atty. Tbe service rendered was not salvage, but towage, whicb has been described to be "the employment of one vessel to expedite the voyage of an· other, 'where nothing more is required than the accelerating her progress." Dr. LUSHINGTON, in The Princess Alice. 3 W. Rob.13S. at page 140; Carver. Carriage by Sea, § 340. p. 343. BUTJ.ER, District Judge. On the night of April 8th, during a very severe storm, the government lightship No. 45, worth about $50,000, (anchored oft'the coast of Delaware,}broke adrift, and was carried out to sea. She was well equipped for keeping afloat, and sufficiently provisioned for a three months' voyage. Her crew consisted of a mate and five men,-the mllster being onshore. While the storm lasted she was kept before the wind, and untilit passed she could not get back, without aid. She rll,iSed a signal indicating her desire for towage, and, after passing two vessels unable to render this service, she met and came into communication with the steamship Viola, a large vessel loaded with sugar and bound for New York. This vessel, deeming it unsafe to attempt the service until the storm should abate or moderate, remained by until the next day when she took the lightship in tow, under the circumstances described by the witnesses, and brought her to Cape Henry, a distance of about 125 miles. In doing this the Viola was compelled
by Mark Wilks Collet, Esq., of the Philadelphia bar.
New York; and her crew in passing back and forth between the vessels, incurred the risk usual to such services performed in a rough sea. When taken in tow the lightship had not sustained any injury, nor had her crew as the several members of it say, seen any cause for alarm. They had declined to be taken off by the passing vessels referred to. The signal for towage was raised, as they testify, because it was considered important to get the ship back to her station without delay which could only be done with the aid of such help. The view I entertain of the case renders a more minute statement of facts unnecessary. The libelant's claim is for salvage services. To sustain it I must find that the lightship was in peril when the Viola came to her aid. This the evidence does not permit. She was drifting bef0re the wind in a severe storm, but was riding safely, had suffered no injury or loss, was thoroughly provisioned, with everything in good condition. She had safely passed through .the violence of the tempest, and in a little while, with the ilnproved weather which followed, cQuld have returned to the station, or have gone into .port elsewhere, without assistanee. The libelant's witnesses admit that the situation involved no peril if her crew was competent for its duty. They infer however that it was not-that it was deficient in knowledge and experience-from what they saw of the vessel's movements. This inference is sought to be supported by the cross-examination of the crew on the general subject of navigation. Some answers of Kambaren, a Norwegian, whom the respondent put forward as possessing accurate knowledge on the subject, would certainly show extraordinary ignorance if he made them understandingly. They are so extraordinary, however, as to justify belief that he did not understand the questions. It is incredible that a man who answered other questions on the subject so intelligently, and who seems to have had considerable experience in navigating vessels, should have knowingly made such answers. . He understands our language very imperfectly and it may well be inferred that he misunderstood the questions. It is clear that the management of the vessel carried her safely through the violence of the storm; and although she was not kept from drifting as the witnesses describe, it is at least open to question whether another crew could have done better.under the circumstances. In my judgment, it is not shown that the men were incompetent for the service, and that the vessel was consequently in danger. I believe as before stated, that with the improved weather which followed they could have Mfely brought her back, or have taken her in port elsewhere. She signaled for assistance, as the mate says, not because she was in distress but because she was needed at her station earlier than she could get there without it. There was no alarm :on board. as is shown not only by what the members of the crew say, but also by the fact that they refused to be taken off by passing vessels. I regard the testimony of Commander. Reed, ,a navigator, of large experiflnce, respecting the ship's situation, her management by thecrew,sndher probable danger, as entitled toC»I18iderable weight.
to deviate slightly from her proper
Ul the setlVioos ,were not suoh as .command (salivage'c3mpensatioh, highlymeritoriOlls, and should be comlttlCbrdiI1gly. !TheViola was,,; large and valuable vessel and Wljg:lCafl1ingavaluable cargo. She.Was:not designed for towing, nor a.dapted ta th£lservice. In lying by the lightship and going out of her ,coutee" so in the storm, and afterwards taking her in tow under the cii'cums'titnces,she incurred Serious responsibility-some risk to herself, her dargo and crew, as well as the possibility of endangering her insurance. These things should all be considered in determining the amount duef(}r ber Shebehavedwelhtnd generously and should be The services were extraordinary, and there is no rule by which their value can be measured with exactness. While services they partake somewhat of the nature ofsuch services. They were voluntarily and ungrudgingly rendered, under cirtJutnstances that made them.-trery valuable to the government and should be uhgmdgingiy paid for. In view orall the considerations involved, I thirilt'the.libelant should' have$2,500j and this sum is accordingly awarded. ':A decree may be,entered fur this amount with costs.
LAVJi::a';l'Y et al. v. Tim
" 1. COLLISION-:;Y'ESSBLS
CHALMETTE. June 28, 1899.}
(D«86rl.ct 'QOw1,' So D. NfI/J}Yo'l'k.
, A boBt Wliiclr is allowed to llwing against a steamer at rest takes all the risks of the steamer'S! construction, and of. any to herself oausedby such contact.
.....Am.EGED INJURY,II'BOlll-WEIGHT OF EVIDENCE.
l WJl:,&:R'yEB-IlIIPINGING BOAT TAKES RISK OF CoNSTRUCTION.
2 ·. SAlI;ll:-PJ\OPELLER.
Where a lighter swuIig unaer the stern. of a steamship laying at a wharf, and received injIiries from which she sank; and theweight of evidence indicated that the Injuries. were not by blow from the sr.eamer's pr:<>peller, but probably by the the l,ghter against the yoke of the rudder, it was heTAl that the lighter ,oouldJitlt redover. .', ' :
In"'Admiralty. Libel for injury caused by steamer's propeller. missed. ,Hyland & Zabriskie, for libelants· . Tweed R. D. Benedict, for claimants.
", BBOWN, District Judge; 'The libel charges that between 3 and 4 .o'clock" in the 'of December 26, 1891, while the libelant's . lighter Alfred Collins walJbeing moved stern .first towards the· bulkhead ;,from alongside the steamer· Chalmette, which lay on,· the ,southerly side ·iOtpiSt 25, ,North river,thesteamer'8 propeller was' suddenly set in motion and came. ili C01'l.taOt: with the. starboardqulll"ter ot1tbd lighter i ; break'irlgsome'planksand':C8Usipg;her,afterw$rdsitQ,s,in.k.The<libel was filed to recover the damages.