The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRUCHHAUSEN
The above entitled actions, duly consolidated, emanate from a bareboat charter of a barge, entered into between B.H. Inc., its owner and Anthony M. Meyerstein, Inc., dated April 15, 1952.
In the first of the above mentioned libels, B.H. Inc. makes three claims, viz.:
1. Damage to the barge in the sum of $ 300.
2. Hire of the barge for the period from July 14, 1952 to July 29, 1952, in the sum of $ 700.
3. Tonnage Tax and Light Money, imposed by the Collector of Customs.
In the second of the above mentioned libels, Meyerstein seeks recovery against B.H. Inc. for alleged repairs made to the barge, during the period of the agreement.
B.H. Inc. contends that their claims are warranted by the provisions of the charter and that Meyerstein's claim has no basis for the same reason.
The witness, Peter F. Hagan, an experienced marine surveyor, testified that he was employed by Meyerstein to inspect and determine the condition of the barge, prior to the making of the charter. In fact, the survey was completed on April 14, 1952 (B.H. Ex. 6), one day prior to the date of the charter. He reported that the barge was in good condition, with the exception of five minor items, noted on the survey. They did not affect its seaworthiness. (S.M. 42)
It appears that the barge was in control of Meyerstein when it went aground while being towed from Norfolk to Miami and sustained damage. The amount of the damage is undisputed.
The Tonnage tax was incurred by reason of the operation of the barge in foreign waters by Meyerstein. The amount thereof is likewise undisputed.
The claim by Meyerstein in its cross-libel is for alleged repairs in a sum exceeding $ 6,000 made and required to be made to the barge at Miami, prior to the towage of it to the Bahama Islands.
B.H. Inc. contends that Meyerstein is solely liable for all of the claims, by reason of the terms of the agreement (B.H. Ex. 1), and particularly the following mentioned provisions thereof, viz.:
'Rate of Hire: $ 1,500.00 per month or fraction thereof, all days being charged including Sundays and holidays. Charter hire for less than one month shall be pro-rated on a ...