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MOTOR TUG CHANCELLOR, INC. v. THE TUG HIRAM ABIFF

January 11, 1966

MOTOR TUG CHANCELLOR, INC., as former owner of the TUG CHANCELLOR, Libellant,
v.
The TUG HIRAM ABIFF, her engines, etc. and R. T. Towing, Inc., Respondent-Claimant. RTC NO. 125 INC., as owner of the TANK BARGE RTC NO. 125, Libellant, v. MOTOR TUG CHANCELLOR, INC., as former owner of the TUG CHANCELLOR, Respondent-Claimant, v. R. T. TOWING and the TUG HIRAM ABIFF, Respondent-Impleaded


Cooper, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: COOPER

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

COOPER, District Judge.

 This litigation involves a collision between the tug Chancellor and the tank barge RTC No. 125, then in tow of the tug Hiram Abiff, which occurred on December 18, 1961 in the vicinity of the American Oil Co. dock, Carteret, New Jersey.

 The action first above captioned was instituted on July 13, 1962 by the filing of a libel to recover $17,000 in damages allegedly suffered by the tug Chancellor. By Pre-Trial Order filed March 18, 1964, damages claimed were reduced to $16,100, to be computed by a Special Commissioner.

 The second action, initiated on September 25, 1962, seeks damages in the sum of $120.00 alleged to have been sustained by the barge RTC No. 125 as a result of the aforesaid collision. Respondent herein impleaded R. T. Towing, Inc. and the tug Hiram Abiff.

 These cases were consolidated for the purposes of trial by order of the Court at the commencement of trial (Tr. 11). *fn1"

 In essence, libellant Motor Tug Chancellor, Inc. contends that: On the morning of December 18, 1961, its tug was proceeding light, southbound and at full speed in Arthur Kill. While in the vicinity of the Rahway River she reduced speed because of a sudden fog and navigated toward the nearby American Oil Co. dock. While so proceeding, the tug Hiram Abiff, with a barge in tow, suddenly loomed out of the fog and despite evasive maneuver on the part of the Chancellor, the moving tug Hiram Abiff negligently brought the barge RTC No. 125 into collision with it.

 It is respondent-claimant's contention that: There was no fog. Visibility, although possibly reduced somewhat by an industrial haze, was approximately one mile. Hiram Abiff and tow were lying stationary, dead in the water, well outside the channel limits. For no apparent reason the Chancellor eased out of the channel, turned hard to its starboard, then came hard left and collided with the barge.

 These cases came on for trial before the Court on June 2, 1965. Trial was completed in one day. The parties thereafter submitted proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.

 Upon the trial record and proceedings had herein, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by Rule 46 1/2, U.S.Sup.Ct. Admiralty Rules.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Motor Tug Chancellor, Inc., a New York corporation, was the owner of the tug Chancellor at the time of the collision.

 2. R. T. Towing, Inc., a New Jersey corporation, owns and operates the tug Hiram Abiff.

 3. RTC No. 125 Inc., a New Jersey corporation owns and operates the ...


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