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THE SUNOIL

August 23, 1934

THE SUNOIL; THE EAGLE; SUN OIL CO.
v.
STANDARD VACUUM TRANSP. CO.; STANDARD VACUUM TRANSP. CO. v. SUN OIL CO.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CAMPBELL

CAMPBELL, District Judge.

The above-entitled actions were brought to recover for damages alleged to have been caused by collision.

The suits arose out of the same collision, were tried together, and, the facts being the same in both cases, but one opinion will be required.

 I find the facts as follows:

 At all the times hereinafter mentioned and at the time of the trial the libelant Sun Oil Company was a corporation of the state of New Jersey, and the owner of the motor vessel Sunoil.

 At all the times hereinafter mentioned, prior to the happening hereinafter referred to, the motor vessel Sunoil was tight, strong, staunch, and in all respects seaworthy and properly manned and equipped.

 At all the times hereinafter mentioned, and at the time of the trial, the cross-libelant Standard Vacuum Transportation Company was a corporation of the state of Delaware and the owner of the steamship Eagle, which up to the time of the happening hereinafter mentioned was tight, staunch, strong, and in all respects seaworthy and properly manned and equipped.

 The motor vessel Sunoil and the steamship Eagle were, during the currency of process hereunder, within this district and within the jurisdiction of this court.

 The jurisdiction of this court is admitted.

 On the morning of January 9, 1931, the motor vessel Sunoil, owned by the libelant and cross-claimant, was proceeding up the Sabine-Neches Canal light, in ballast, inward bound.

 The Sunoil was in charge of a pilot, Petersen, who came on board at Sabine Bar. She was 480.6 feet long, 66 feet beam, 36.8 in depth, gross tonnage 8,946, net tonnage 5,429, and was drawing 3 feet forward and 18 feet aft.

 The Sounoil was proceeding up the canal bound for Port Sun, which is midway between Port Arthur and Beaumont, about 18 miles above Port Arthur. When she was above Texas Island in a straight reach in the canal below Port Arthur, she observed two vessels above Port Arthur bridge coming down outward bound; the first vessel being the steamship Tustem, and the second the steamship Eagle.

 The steamship Eagle was loaded, and was drawing 29 feet 4 inches.

 The tide was ebb, that is, running out, the wind between northeast and northeast by north, force 3 on the Beaufort scale, weather clear, and visibility good.

 The motor vessel Sunoil, at 9:45 a.m., dropped her starboard anchor with 15 fathoms of chain in the water, with the brake on. This was the customary practice in going up the canal on that reach. At that time she was above the first bend above Texas Island, and dropped her anchor to hold the ship's head up to the wind, and to her right side of the canal. As the Tustem approached, one whistle signals for a port to port passing were exchanged, and at about 10 a.m. the steamship Tustem passed the Sunoil safely, with sufficient clearance. Vessels that do not sheer pass safely in that straight reach.

 About 20 minutes later, the steamship Eagle came down, with the tug Chief forward of her on her starboard side of the canal, and having a 400-foot hawser on the steamship Eagle, with the purpose of keeping her on her starboard side of the canal.

 The Sunoil, with the pilot, master, and third officer on the bridge, with a quartermaster at the wheel, and the chief officer and another man on the forecastle head, was proceeding bucking the tide at dead slow speed, with her starboard anchor dragging on a 15-fathom hawser, and so holding her head up to the bank on her starboard side of the canal, with her stern out about 10 or 15 feet. From time to time the Sunoil was put ahead at slow speed for short intervals, to hold her head up against the bank on her starboard side.

 There is a passing place in the canal, up by the Port Arthur bridge, which was constructed before January 9, 1931.

 The Sunoil never reached the passing place before the collision, nor do I believe she could have reached it before passing the Trustem, but the Eagle came ...


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