, ; l;
.' BIGGS 11. THEOmoNet
.(DUtmct C01lirt,1Il.,D. Pen'n8Y1'M'7/-U1. NOYEll!2ber ,9,
at for qf in bay, a few .miles nortll'$Ve8t ofCa Henrf.<J;h6' tide was running in strollg, wHioh brought her head . nearl,lIouthi '6'r for6sail" madnsail, and II.p. an.ker were. u. buttb.et:Q.,. w.as 8.°1'1'.0011 . any wind, and the booms were properly Hljr,anohor light was bjlrning brightly in thlj proper place,' ·.A:stea.mer, with 'three oCean barges in tdW, on llaWBel'li 'a:ggregatiugtwothirds of a mile or more, cQurse, approooh\l4, vez;ynew observinS- .)M light" and. tqen, to. the llOuth, . pasSIng 'witbin ''1'00 01'·200' yards,. sna:carrying the' first barge lIafely by, but altDost,itnmediat.ely.she:resumedlleI' OQurs" and the l!QCOud barge was car... .. 0bse.ured.bY. a.n.Yfi.Hin. g of t.he sal.lll, a.Dd. (2) thoatt.h.e. lItea.merwa.lI in fa.u It. 1U,.1laking so to in.liIot turn. ing south and.!n resumlUg her tOo soon. S; B.ur"':'Ni&uGENi:lm 01' M..ilTER....laNOR.A:N..CE 011' 'TIIIES: ,. , , ;J;t WtIo81ntltCUsa:ple fol'the tlllj stelLm,er ;to ,be ignorant of tlJ,e state of the tide and'ita timderioy to carry the ..' ,
The barge whioh collided with the schooner wall alsoln·flWlt.toI' :ta.ilirrg to keep a proper lookout, and in being allowed to drift with the current, when by proper vigilanoo her long hawlIer would have enabled her to control her course' 110 as to avoid the collision.
In Admiralty. Libel by Peter H. Riggs, master of the schooner John H. May, against the steamer Orion, whereof William H. Smith is master, and the barge Oakland, whereof George A. Belcher is master, for damages for a collision. Decree for libelant. Curtis Tilton, for libelant. Morton P. Henry, for respondents.
BUTJ,ER, District Judge. The libelant, at 2:30 A. M. of February was lying at anchor in the Chesapeake bay, a few miles northwest of Cape Henry. The tide was running up strong; the wind, which was from southwest, was so light that she was virtually becalmed, and had anchored in consequence. Her stern swung with the tide, bringing her head nearly south. The foresail, mainsail and spanker were up, the booms hauled in amidships between the masts and properly secured. All other sails were down. The customary anchor light, hanging from the forestay sail halyards, was burning brightlYi and an anchor watch was in charge.
883 The'steamer Orion, towing three: large ocean barges; asterndttached by. !bawseFBt j each of about ,150 fatliomst-coveringadistanceof two thirds: of a.mile,or more-;-and. proceeding 00 ll.wester]ycourse, ran' so nea.r the libelant,as to bring the second barge, the Oakland, into collision with her,'carrying away her bowsprit,jib boom; and headgear generally. When·the libelant's light was seen by the steamer, which. was not until she'was closeatha.nd, thelaUer turned off southward, and passed 100 to: 200 yards. away, carrying the barge next her safely by. Very Boon, however, she: turned northwestward and resumed. ber original course,: and the Oakland was carried against the libelant, as stated. The rear barge, on Seeing the collision, cut her hawser, and ran with the tide under the libelant's stern. The steamer, in ignorance of the accident, or , the loss of,thebarge,contiouedhercourse. The defense set up.is that the schooner's :light \vas hidden the sails,and. was.looneequently; not seen until so near that the collision was inevitablej'and that the libelant is blamable for leaving he-rsails up withou:t.displayinganadditionallight where it could not be obscured. This .defense de not,Jn my judgment; sustained. by, the proofs.. The ;]ibelant toom ,all Pteeautions .usual to the circumstances,or required by a proper regard for the safety .of herself and others. The.weight:of evidtmce; in,tbis,'respect is clearly with. her. The failure to see her light -earlier was,: in "my Judgment, the 11esult of negligence.' Thewitnesses that a vigilant :lookoUtW8S maintainooj and fr6m·the thitt'iiu'Ught, cQl,ldbe seen was close at haird,and her sails were visible. ' 't' cahnot however believe this in view 'of other lestimtmy:,f and' of well-611ta!blishedfacts. which seem' to prove !thecontr8rY. These witnesses are' il1terested j swearing to I have yet to meet with an instanoeof collision wheiewitnesses from the in tattltdidnot testify toa faithful discharge of1 their duties,and to the Janltlessness i of the: vessel. . I attaoh no importarice to what is said by the witnesses from the barges, in' .this respect. These vessels seem tohave been allowed to take care of themselves, having nO proper lookout and ,being permitted to float with the tide, at the end of a long hawser, and at great distance from the steamer. That the steamer's conduct was negligent, generally, seems to be demo,llstrated by the faet that sbe did not know anything of the collision, or tbeloss of a barge, until an hour and a half later, and then discovered it only through another accident. It was her duty to maintain a lookout rearward, as well as forward, under the circumstances; and yet, notwithstanding what her witnesses say, it is manifest that this duty was entirely neglected.; Furthermore she turned back to resume her original course while two thirds of her long string of boats was on the other side of the schooner. . This last statement is,' I believe,. fully justified by the proofs. Heroffi'oer in 'cbarge says she turned northwestward soon after her sheer to the southward; wheu neither he, nor any one else on board, kMW $hether the'barges had' passed or oot,"£or they were not observing t.l:Ri!$ and.! as we have seell, were unaware of, the ',colli-
FEDER,Ui REPORTER,: voL
sion o1l'the loss, of one oHhem.. The testimony: of".tbe' Oakland's. masterand theschooner'sanebor watch is, BubstantiallYl that the steamer 1s tum northwestward was ,before the Oaklllnd had passed. It is admitted the schooner's light wi1s,bnrning brightly. If hidden by the standing sails from anybody it muSt, have been from one approaching from her rear, orwell over in that:direction.But, with. thEi light air then astir, (it cohldhardly be called a wind) the "bellying" of the sails must necessarily have been slight and unsteady, so that if hidden to one aphom this direction, it would be but momentarily. I am not unmindful of what the respondents' witnesses say about the wind, but the fact thaUhe schooner was at anchor for want of wind, of itself outweighs this testimon¥. The statement of Holm, who was on the· rear barge, the Merryman, that be saw tile schooner's sails filled and swelling out, as he sheered under ,her stern; is unwollthy of, belief. It is incredible ,that he should have been so ;obselwant 'Of It fabt that did rtotthen interest him, at a time wnenliis undivided attention was required to save himself and his vessel. The master also asked about this,but, while evidently,disposed:to support ,Holm:, he is unable to do it. His examinati'On'so:d; answers,Were "QUestim; Cou'ld :y()11 'llee the Rails of the schooner as she passed' you? Answer.. Yes,' Bir.Q·. Were they full or 'shaking? . A. I could not telFexactly, but I were a littl", mite f1A11. I cO\l.ld not tell exactly. .she WIlS pretty to tbe they have little mite but Was very trifling. I .did not take particular notice of that." " . ';,. But,as we have seen, the steamer did not approach from or anywhere near that direction. We cannot with, entire exactness know how the schooner headed, but it is admitted to have been southward. With the steamer's course westward, or a little south,as she states it, the schooner's .sails could .nothide her light. Furthermore it seems clear that the steamer saw the light in time to pass her tow safely,and would have done so if she had turned further southward, and held this course. The testimony oLher officer in charge sl,lstains this view. He did not go further south. because, as he says, he beHeved the sheer made sufficient forsaiety. It carried him and the. first barge pastjand had be. not returned to his original course when he, did, it is prohable the collision would have been avoided. There waf!! ,nothing in the however, of his going further south. Be did,notbecause he deemed it unnecessary. This was a fault of judgment, for :which his vessel is responsible. He. says he was unaware of the state of the tide, which tended to carry the bll.llgeupward. This was inexcusable ignorance, for which also his vessel must auswel'. The faults-of the OriQll we.re the principal of th'em being: Jilirat, in taking such Si tow across the J;>aY.."R tpw more than twice its propar length, andconlleq,uently unWieldy and.d.angerous---,but for which it might prooably"even with the other. faults clmlmitted, have passed safely, as the first oa·rge, did. That finch tows; may be proper in the
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open sea does not tend to excuse their existence in the bay, where vessels encountered, in motion and at anchor, continually. Second,in'failing to seethe schooner's light earlier, and keeping further off. 'fhird, in failing to turn further southward when she did see it. in turning back to her original course while two of the barges were on the other side of the schooner. The liability of the Oakland is equally clear. She might indee<i be oondemned on the steamer's testimony alone. As before stated, she was without a proper lookout, and was allowed to drift with the current. With her great length of hawser she could by proper vigilance have so controlled her course as to pass without colliding, notwithstanding the steamer's faults. The testimony from the steamer justifies this view. As, however, the steamer and this barge, I am informed, belong 'to the same owners, the result must be the same whether one or both be condemned. I have said sufficient to indicate'my reasons for the decree about to be entered, and will not therefore pursue the subject fUrther.
BALTIMORE STEAM PACKET SAME
Co. et al. Co. et al.
V· .BALTIMORE STEAM PACKET
(Circuit Court of Appeals. Fourth Oircuit. October 11,1892.)
CoLLISION BETWEEN STEAMERS-SIGNALS-FAILURE TO It.VERSE.
A collision happened in the nighttime at the junction of the Ft. and Brewerton channels of the Patapsco river, between t'r0 sidewheel Iia8Sehger steamers. the Virginia and the Louise. The Louise. the incoming steamer,' at a proper distance. signaled to the Virginia by two blastsJ;hat she desired to take the southerly side of the channel. being the side which wll's on her port. The signal was answered by a steam tug, which was he,tween her and. the Virginia. Without getting any reply from the Virginia, the Louise put her helm to starboard, and continued. at her full speed of 11 miles an hour. untll she was about a quarter of a mile from the Virginia. when she again gave a,signal of two blasts.. The Virginia, being then over on the southerly edge of the channel with her wheel to starboard, and the channel being obstructed by a schooner. Was uuable to avoid the Louise, and they collided just at the bend of the channel. Held. that theJ,.ouise was in fault (1) in putting her helm to starboard. and taking the side of the channel which was on her port. without getting an assenting signal from the Virginia; (2) in not obeying the rule which required her, having the Virginia on her starb.oard side. to keep out of the Virginia's way; (S) because, when the risk of collision was apparent, the Louise did not stop and reverse her engines. but merely slowed. 49 Fed. !tep. 84, affirmed. The Virginia heard the signal of two blasts given by the Louise. and. when the tug answered, supposed itwasintellded for the tug. She continued at JuUspeed.