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A. S. WIKSTROM, INC. v. MORANIA OIL TANKER CORP.

June 22, 1954

A. S. WIKSTROM, Inc., as owner of THE A. S. WIKSTROM, Libellant,
v.
MORANIA OIL TANKER CORP., as chartered owner of THE BILL ENDTER and THE MORANIA 130, Respondent



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRENNAN

Findings of Fact

1. On October 29, 1952, about 5:45 P.M. a collision occurred between the scow or barge A. S. Wikstrom and the barge Morania 130, powered by the tug Bill Endter on the New York State Barge Canal, at a point known as the Weedsport Terminal. This court has jurisdiction over the parties and the controversy arising out of such collision.

2. The libellant, a domestic corporation, was at all times here pertinent the owner of the scow A. S. Wikstrom.

 3. The claimant-respondent, a domestic corporation, was at all times here pertinent the owner of the tug Bill Endter and the barge Morania 130.

 4. The barge A. S. Wikstrom was 70 feet long, with 40 foot beam and 6 feet in depth. On the occasion involved herein she was drawing 1 1/2 feet forward and aft. She was composed of five sections, each section, except the middle, being made up of ten air-filled steel tanks, each fastened to the adjoining section by welded angle irons and sixteen 3/4 inch bolts. The middle section was constructed with its two aft tanks missing where a propulsion unit was to be installed.

 5. The tug, Bill Endter, was 83.3 feet long with a 23.7 foot beam and 9.9 foot depth. On the occasion involved herein her draft was such that the helmsman in the pilot house of the Bill Endter was from fifteen to sixteen feet above the water line.

 6. The Morania 130 was 229 feet, four inches in length, with 42.9 beam and 14.5 depth. On the occasion involved herein, she was drawing 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet forward and aft.

 7. At the time of the collision the A. S. Wikstrom was moored to the dock wall of the Weedsport Terminal on the starboard side of the New York State barge canal. She was fastened to the dock by 9/16th inch steel cables secured forward and aft on the A. S. Wikstrom and secured to stanchions on the dock. She also was tied fast to the dock stanchions by one inch and one and one-half inch lines.

 8. The navigable channel of the New York State barge canal in the area opposite and adjacent to the Weedsport Terminal is 163 feet wide. The distance from the first bend in the canal to the west of the Weedsport Terminal to the said Weedsport Terminal is approximately 700 feet.

 9. The weather was clear; darkness had set in; the current was flowing East, that is, towards the starboard bank of the Canal.

 10. The A. S. Wikstrom was carrying lights forward and aft, which lights weighing 38 pounds each, were placed on a flat surface on the deck of the A. S. Wikstrom on the outboard or port side. These lights were supplied to the libellant by the Department of Public Works, State of New York, and had been cleaned and filled on the morning of October 29, 1952. They were visible for at least one mile. A similar light was also placed on the west end of the terminal wall on the outboard side. At the time of the occasion involved herein, these lights were lighted and visible to the East bound canal traffic.

 11. The tug Bill Endter on the occasion involved herein was pushing the Morania 130, Easterly on the New York State barge canal and prior to 5:45 P.M., on October 29, 1952, was approaching the Weedsport Terminal. The second mate was at the wheel and a deck hand was also in the wheel house, which movable wheel house was in a lowered position. there was no lookout stationed at any place on the float other than in the wheel house.

 12. The tug Bill Endter and the Morania 130, heading East rounded the bend in the barge canal immediately West of the Weedsport Terminal, navigating on the starboard side of the channel. After rounding the bend, the tug Bill Endter pushing the Morania 130, navigated in such a manner so as not to pass the A. S. Wikstrom without striking her, although the channel was sufficiently wide to permit passage without collision. The A. S. Wikstrom was not observed by any member of the crew of the Bill Endter and Morania 130 until within one hundred feet thereof.

 13. The tug Bill Endter and the Morania 130 proceeded on their course without heaving to and lending assistance to ...


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