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MARINE FUEL TRANSFER CORP. v. TUGS GRAMERCY

July 10, 1956

MARINE FUEL TRANSFER CORPORATION as Owner of THE Barge GEORGE K. HAMBLETON, Libelllant,
v.
Tugs GRAMERCY and Justine McAllister, their tackle, etc., Respondents. CONNERS-STANDARD MARINE CORPORATION, as Owner of THE Barge ARTHUR HERRMANN, Libellant, v. THE Tug JUSTINE McALLISTER, her engines, boilers, etc., Claimant-Respondent, and Tug Gramercy, Impleaded



The opinion of the court was delivered by: INCH

These are actions brought to recover damages to the barge, George K. Hambleton, and the barge, Arthur Herrmann, resulting from a collision between them on the New York State Barge Canal, on November 18, 1950, just west of Lock No. 12.

Detailed and specific findings of fact and conclusions of law are being filed herewith.

Settle decrees, in accordance with said findings and conclusions.

 Findings of Fact

 1. At about 12:05 A.M. on November 18, 1950 a collision occurred on the waters of the New York State Barge Canal between the barge George K. Hambleton owned by Marine Fuel Transfer Corporation and the barge Arthur Herrmann owned by Conners-Standard Marine Corporation.

 2. At said time the barge George K. Hambleton was being pushboated by the tug Justine McAllister eastbound in ballast bound for Lock No. 12; the barge Arthur Herrmann loaded with a cargo was being pushboated by the tug Gramercy proceeding westerly and had just left Lock No. 12.

 3. Lock No. 12 is situated at Tribes Hill, New York. The lock chamber which is 45 feet wide is located on the extreme northerly side of the channel. The north wall of the lock chamber extends westerly from the chamber a distance of about 800 to 1,000 feet providing an approach wall to the lock from the west against which tows entering the lock may line up for the lock or if necessary, lay to, awaiting entry into the lock. The south wall of the lock chamber terminates in a bullnose at the gates of the lock.

 4. The channel westerly of the lock is about 300 feet wide. Approaching the lock from the west the channel bends in a wide starboard bend for vessels approaching from that direction, changing course just east of Schoharie Creek from a direction approximately north northeast to a direction approximately east northeast.

 5. The southerly side of the channel is marked by white buoys. The first buoy west of Lock No. 12, which is located about 500 feet west of the bullnose of Lock No. 12 and on the extreme southerly side of the channel, is No. 245. The next buoy westerly is on the westerly side of Schoharie Creek and is No. 247. Between these two buoys the channel makes a bend as above noted from a north northeasterly to an east northeasterly direction.

 6. The collision occurred between the extreme port bow corner of the barge George K. Hambleton and the middle of the bow of the barge Arthur Herrmann. Both barges were damaged in consequence.

 7. As the two flotillas were made up, their respective barges and tugs formed a single inflexible unit propelled by the tug and steered solely by the tug's rudder.

 8. As the Arthur Herrmann-Gramercy flotilla was proceeding out of the Lock, the George K. Hambleton-Justine McAllister flotilla was approaching the Lock about abreast of Schoharie Creek and was displaying the green navigation lights of the barge and the tug to the Gramercy.

 9 Upon the course which the Justine was then proceeding, the Hambleton would have carried over to the northerly side of the channel westerly of the lock wall where she would have been in position to line up along the lock wall for entry into the lock chamber.

 10. There is a custom maintained on the Canal, which is dictated by reasons of safety and practicability, for the westbound tow coming out of the Lock to pull to its port as soon as it clears the Lock and head over sharply to the southerly side of the channel abreast of buoy ...


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