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THE OHIOAN

August 31, 1934

THE OHIOAN; THE BALDROCK; THE RAMOS


The opinion of the court was delivered by: CAMPBELL

CAMPBELL, District Judge.

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

These suits were by stipulation tried together, and, as they arise out of the same happening, but one opinion will be required.

 In the first above-entitled suit, the steamtug Baldrock and Eastern Transportation Company were, on the petition of American Hawaiian Steamship Company, impleaded under the Fifty-Sixth rule of the Admiralty Rules (28 USCA § 723).

 On evidence which at some points is conflicting, I find the facts as follows:

 At the times hereinafter mentioned, T. J. Hooper, the above-named libelant in the second above-entitled suit, was a resident of the city of Baltimore, state of Maryland, and was the managing owner of the barge Ramos.

 At the times hereinafter mentioned and at the time of the trial, the American Hawaiian Steamship Company, the libelant in the first above-entitled suit, was a corporation duly organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the state of New Jersey, and did at the times hereinafter mentioned and at the time of the trial own and operate the steamship Ohioan.

 At all the times hereinafter mentioned and at the time of the trial, Eastern Transportation Company was a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the state of Maryland, and at said times owned and operated the steamtug Baldrock, and said corporation does not maintain an office for the transaction of business within this district, nor do any of the officers reside in this district, but it owns certain property and chattels which, during the currency of process herein, were within this district and within the jurisdiction of this court.

 The steamtug Baldrock herein proceeded against was, during the currency of process herein, within the port of New York and within the jurisdiction of this court.

 The barge Ramos was, prior to the happening hereinafter described, tight, staunch, strong, and in all respects seaworthy and properly manned and equipped.

 The steamship Ohioan was, prior to the happening hereinafter described, tight, staunch, strong, and in all respects seaworthy and properly manned and equipped.

 On June 24, 1933, the steamtug Baldrock got under way from Virginia Capes with the loaded barges T. J. Hooper, Catonville, and Ramos in tow, in the order named, bound for New York and New England ports.

 The steamtug Baldrock was 142 feet in length between perpendiculars, about 38 feet beam, and about 15 feet in depth, with a tonnage of about 437 gross tons.

 The barge T. J. Hooper was 267 feet in length, 49.6 feet beam, and 25 feet depth.

 The barge Catonville was about 274 feet in length and 48 feet beam.

 The barge Ramos was about 227 feet in length, about 38 feet beam, with a draft of 19.6 feet, and a crew of three men.

 After passing out of the Capes, hawsers were let out to sea length, that is, about 225 fathoms between the tug Baldrock and the barge T. J. Hooper, 200 fathoms between the barge T. J. Hooper and the barge Catonville, and 200 fathoms between the barges Catonville and Ramos.

 About 10 fathoms of hawser were used in making fast on each barge, so that the length of the hawser from the bow of one barge to the stern of the barge ahead was 180 fathoms.

 The length of the tow from the stem of the tug Baldrock to the stern of the barge Ramos was about 4,400 feet, over two-thirds of a marine mile.

 At about 10:30 o'clock on June 27, 1933, the morning of the collision, Scotland Lightship was observed on the port side of the tug Baldrock and her tow, the distance as estimated by libelant's witnesses varying between 1 and 2 miles. There was also observed a vessel at anchor between Gedney Channel and Scotland Lightship, and another vessel at anchor between Gedney Channel and Ambrose Channel.

 The fog rapidly increased, and the master of the Baldrock, in order to avoid danger and seek an anchorage to the westerly of Scotland Lightship, again swung the tow around under a port helm, that is, to seaward. At that time the visibility was about 1/2 a mile.

 The distance to seaward of the tow increased in making the turn, and, when finally on the northwest course for an anchorage, the tow was about a mile and three-quarters to the southward and eastward of Scotland Lightship.

 Fog signals were continually sounded by both the tug Baldrock and the barge Ramos, the last barge in the tow, and at all the times in question, on the day in question, fog signals on Scotland Lightship, Ambrose Lightship, and at Sandy Hook were being sounded and distinctly heard on the tug and barges.

 While the Baldrock was proceeding on the northwest course, seeking an anchorage to the westerly of Scotland Lightship, at a speed of about a mile an hour over the ground, which was not more than sufficient to maintain steerageway, a one blast fog signal, repeated several times, was heard by those on board the tug and tow.

 The steamship Ohioan, a steel, single screw cargo steamship 407.7 feet long, 53.7 feet beam, 5,153 gross, and 3,147 net tons register, on the 26th day of June, 1933, at 5:21 o'clock p.m., left Newark on a voyage from the West Coast for Philadelphia and Boston, and proceeded as far as Gravesend Bay, but the fog set in and she had to anchor at 7:13 p.m. The following morning, June 27, 1933, at 7:05 a.m., she hove up her anchor to proceed on her voyage, but at 7:15 a.m. she again anchored because the fog came in thick. About 10:08 o'clock a.m. it commenced to lighten up, and the Ohioan proceeded out and through Ambrose ...


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