« EelmineJätka »
southerly side. No. 3 soon sank in a position heading about S. W., her bow at low tide being in about 7 or 8 feet of water, and her stern in 10 or 12 feet.
For the purpose both of protecting the scow from further injury and of avoiding comision with other tugs and tows that were passing day and night, her owners sent the Ariosa to look after her during the daytime of September 7th, and requested the agent of the Nichols to look out for her. The latter on the night of the 7th sent the tug Wright, which went down and took the position previously held by the Ariosa near the sunken scow, and remained there during the night. She made fast by the Ariosa's anchor, which had been dropped in one of the scow's four mud wells, probably in the well nearest to the channel as she lay. Between 1 and 2 o'clock that night the tug Easton, coming down with similar scows in tow, in attempting to go to the southward of the sunken scow No. 3, ran her head scow against the southerly side and corner of No. 3, and caused her fur. ther damage, for which the second above libel was filed.
The principal facts charged against the Nichols and the Ceres in the first libel are, that the Nichols was the overtaking vessel and did not keep out of the way as she should have done, nor observe that the Ceres' scow was aground; and that the Ceres did not give signals of danger, as she ought to have done. In the second libel, the faults charged are that the Wright did not șive any proper signals by whistles to warn other vessels away, nor show any white light to indicate that she was at anchor; and that the Easton did not keep a proper lookout, nor keep out of the way.
There is the usual discrepancy in the testimony. Much of the testimony is, I am persuaded, incorrect, especially as to the width of the channel, and the direction of the ebb tide in the last quarter. The narrowest part of the channel way between the east bank and Lewis' shoal exceeds, I think, the largest estimate given. Considerable of the testimony, also, which conveys the impression of a diffculty in navigating through that channel in consequence of an alleged strong set of the tide across the channel course towards the east bank, and as to its rate, is, I am also satisfied, mistaken or very greatly exaggerated. The evidence shows that the tugs while lying there at anchor on the ebb, lay very nearly in line with the Coney island shore; that when the Nichols and the Easton attempted to go to the southward, i. e. upon the edge of the east bank, both of their tows, some 400 or 500 feet distant, went more to the northward than the tugs, instead of drifting more to the southward, as the alleged tideway would have caused them to do; and after collision they all cleared by swinging and drifting to the northerly side of the scow aground instead of to the southward, and continued drifting in the same direction.
Both of these collisions were manifestly caused by the same mistake of attempting to go to the southward of the scow aground or sunken; and both, I am satisfied, happened because neither the captain of the Nichols, nor the captain of the Easton was sufficiently acquainted with the location of the channel, nor with the proper way of navigating through it. Both were comparatively young men. The
answer of the Easton alleges that she went as near to the east bank as possible; and the testimony of the captain of the Nichols shows that he supposed that the scow of the Ceres was upon the north side of the channel way, instead of on the south side of it. This same mistake by both, was the real cause of both collisions. The captain of another tug, the Decatur, twice made a similar mistake. No persons from the Decatur were called as witnesses. The pilots of the other tugs going up and down, who knew the channel way better, had no difficulty in keeping away both from the Ceres' scow, and from No, 3 by a good distance. They passed well clear to the northward, where there was in fact abundant room for them to go, and to go without difficulty. It was only those who did not know the channel way and who tried to find a channel over the east bank, that got into trouble.
Upon this view of the fundamental cause of the collision, it is not important to consider at any length what has mostly occupied court and counsel upon the trial and the argument; namely, the particular signals given or omitted by either, or the lights displayed. These were all immaterial. The evidence is overwhelming that the night was a bright, moonlight night. I am obliged to discredit the evidence of the Easton on this point. The Nichols, on approaching the Cores' tow, had the proper channel course been known to her captain, and had any proper lookout been kept, would have had no trouble in 20ing to the northward where there was abundant breadth of deep water, and no difficulty from the tide. 'The Ceres' scow was statior:ary; the Ceres was trying to move her and their positions were ; (rfectly discernible from a quarter of a mile to a half mile distant. There were lights upon both and there was no need of any further signals to an approaching tug to keep away; nor any difficulty in doing so to a pilot knowing the channel; nor did any rule or regulation require any further lights or signals.
So as respects the collision on the following night, the same remarks apply. No special signals, lights, or whistles wery required by any rule or regulation. In a dangerous place, notice of some kind is a reasonable obligation; but any signal that naturally serves as a sufficient warning to keep off, according to the circumstances, is enough. For an anchor, dropped where it is likely to cause injury to other vessels, a buoy is enough; and a wreck, or a vessel aground, in the absence of any rule on the subject, is sufficiently notified to approaching vessels by any unusual signal calculated to arrest attention and to give warning. In this instance, two red lights, plainly a warning sig. nal, were displayed from the tug Wright, which was at anchor by the wreck, to cover her. She was on the south edge of the channel, and the two red lights were a signal not appropriated to any other use; and in that special situation where the liability of boats to get aground was known, such a signal would necessarily suggest either a grounding or a wreck of some boat there. The defense of the Easton is, not that such signal lights were not understood, but that only one red light was visible, and a white light, instead of two red lights. I cannot accept her version on this point any more than in regard to her testimony as to the darkness of the night. The proof
is abundant that both red lights were set and were visible. To the claim that the Wright was mistaken for some light-draft sailing ves. sel in that locality, I attach no weight. The signals of the Wright were sufficient; they were visible at a long distance; and the Easton was bound to avoid the danger indicated by going in the proper channel to the northward a reasonably safe distance away. The cause of the collision was that the Easton did not heed the two red lights of the Wright in time, and because her pilot, being ignorant of the true location of the channel, took the unjustifiable course to the southward.
Decree for the libelant against the Nichols and the Easton, and exempting the Ceres and the Wright.
THE CHARLES H. SENFF.
FOX v. THE CHARLES H. SENFF.
(District Court, S. D. New York. November 23, 1892.) COLLISION—TUGS AND Tows-INSPECTOR'S RULES.
The tug D., while swinging off and around from the end of pier 7, East river, to go down the river, collided with a float in tow of the tug S., which was coming up against the ebb tide, about 100 or 125 yards outside the pier, preceded by another tug, a little on the inside of her; both navigating thus near the shore in violation of the statute, and preventing the D. and the S. from having timely view of each other, and giving the signals required by the inspector's rules. The D. had no lookout, except the pilot; and the court found that a careful lookout would have discoyered the S., notwithstanding her closeness to the shore, and the intervening boats. Held, that both tugs were in fault, and that the owner of the D. should recover one half his damages.
In Admiralty. Libel by Charles A. Fox, as owner of the steam tug F. W. Devoe, against the steam tug Charles H. Senff, to recover damages for collision. Decree for libelant for one half his damages.
Carpenter & Mosher, for Fox.
BROWN, District Judge. The F. W. Devoe, while swinging off and around from the end of pier 7 to go down river, came in contact with the port quarter of the float alongside the Charles H. Senff, going up against the ebb tide. I find that the place of collision was not more than from 100 to 125 yards outside of the end of pier 7; that the tug Sisson was previously coming up a little ahead and inside of the Senif and passed pier 7 about the time the Devoe swung out; that the navigation of both the Senff and the Sisson was near the shore in violation of the statute and without justifiable cause, and caused an obstruction to a considerable extent in the proper and timely view of the Devoe and the Senff to each other, and the giving of timely signals as required by the inspector's rules. This fault of the Senff was for the above reasons material, and also because it left but very short time and space for consideration to the Devoe after the latter saw the Senff; and these faults are not made remote
and immaterial by the fact that it was still possible for the Devoe, as I find was the case, to have avoided the collision, had she made no miscalculation concerning the course of the Senff and her tow, arising from the sloping position of the float and the greater projection of the stern, which was probably the ultimate cause of the collision. There was no lookout on the Devoe, except the pilot, and his lookout on swinging around on the ebb tide was insufficient. I think a careful lookout would have discovered the position and course of the Senff, notwithstanding her closeness to the shore and the intervening boats. And the ability to handle a small tug like the Devoe within a narrow space was such that the Devoe might also have avoided the float by sufficient backing. Her temporary stopping to back was, no doubt, the result of miscalculation at the moment; but the time and space for observation were so short in consequence of the closeness of the Senff to the shore, that both vessels seem to me plainly responsible for the collision, and the libelant can recover, therefore, but one half his damages.
TRANSFER NO. 8.1 NEW YORK CENTRAL LIGHTERAGE NO. 2. REDDY V. NEW YORK CENTRAL LIGHTERAGE NO. 2 and TRANSFER
(District Court, S. D. New York. December 21, 1892.) COLLISION--TUGS AND Tows-EAST RIVER-NAVIGATION NEAR PIERS.
Steam tug No. 2, with a heavy tow alongside, having just left the earl of pier 5, East river, heading up, was swinging out in the ebb tide to go down the river. Steam tug No. 8, with a car float in tow alongside, was coming up the river at the rate of about 6 or 8 knots, and so near the pier that she could not be seen by No. 2 until the latter had left her pier, and when the two were about 750 feet apart. No. 2 thereupon whistled twice, and hooked up, in an attempt to pass ahead of No. 8, and out into the river; but the tow on her starboard side was struck and sunk by the car float alongside of No. 8. Held, that the cause of the collision was the fault of No. 8, in going at such speed, so close to the shore, around the bend, and that, the situation being critical from the moment the vessels discovered each other, the ordinary rule of the starboard hand did not apply, and that the navigation of No. 2 was not, under the circumstances, negligent, but, if erroneous, was so by an error of judgment in extremis, and by the other's fault.
In Admiralty. Libel by Philip Reddy against the New York Cen. tral Lighterage No. 2 and Transfer No. 8 to recover damages for a collision. Decree for libelant against No. 8, and exempting No. 2.
Stewart & Macklin, for libelant.
BROWN, District Judge. A little after 2 o'clock in the afternoon of September 6, 1892, as the steam tug No. 2, having just left the
? Reported by E. G. Benedict, Esq., of the New York bar.
end of pier 5, East river, was swinging out and around in order to go down the East river and up the North river, with four boats in tow, namely, two on each side, the libelant's canal boat C. E. Moore, which was the outer boat on the starboard side, came in collision with a car float, which was coming up the East river near the New York shore in tow of tug No. 8, on her port side. The collision was itbout abreast of pier 4, or between that and pier 5, and, as I find, not over 200 feet off from the end of the pier. The port corner of the ioat first struck the canal boat about amidships, at an angle of about five points. The canal boat was light, and the end of the fivat crashed into and ran nearly through the canal boat, causing her to sink immediately. The above libel was filed to recover the damages.
There is a conflict as to the distance from the ends of the piers, at which the tug No. 8 was coming up. The witnesses for the latter say that she was at least 300 feet off; while the witnesses for No. 2 say that it was very much less. The latter are confirmed by the pilot and deck hand on the Hamilton ferryboat Pierpont, which waited to allow tug No. 8 to pass ahead of her before going out of her slip; they say she passed very near the end of the piers. Nor can I find that at collision No. 2 was heading towards Governor's island, and No. 8 for Atlantic avenue, as No. 8 contends. No. 8's witness Miller says No. 8 was heading about for Fulton ferry, Brooklyn, and as the angle of collision was but about five points, No. 2 would be heading about across the river as her witnesses testify.
I find, therefore, that No. 8 was coming up so near to the Staten island ferry and pier 1 that she could not be seen until after No. 2 had left pier 5, and was swinging out into the stream, and was prop. erly making her way out towards the middle of the river, where, by law, she was required to go; that No. 8 was seen as soon as she could be seen; that the bows of her float, the rest of her not being visible, appeared very near to pier 1, and so close to it as to make it apparently impossible for No. 2 to clear her by swinging round to starboard; that the two boats were then not more than 750 feet apart; and that in my judgment No. 2 did the best thing that was apparently possible to avoid collision, by giving a signal of two whistles and booking up, in the endeavor to get out into the river as rapidly as possible. No. 8 replied at once with two whistles.
In behalf of No. 8 it is claimed that she stopped at once, and very speedily backed strong. If this is true, and if No. 8 did do all that she could to avoid the collision in that way, this fact, instead of relieving her from responsibility, only proves the more strongly the crit. ical situation in which the vessels were placed from the moment when they were discoverable. The pilot of No. 8 in fact says that he considered the situation dangerous from the first, but that he gave the answer of two whistles, because No. 2 had asked it.
The ordinary rule of the starboard hand does not control this case, for the reason that No. 8 was from the first in fault in going so close to the shore and at such speed, viz. from six to eight knots; so that there was not time and opportunity for No. 2, heavily incumbered as she was, to get out of the way. The Amos C. Barstow, 30 Fed. Rep. 620. No. 8 was required by law to go in mid-river, “as near