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THYSSEN STEEL CORP. v. S. S. ADONIS

September 25, 1973

THYSSEN STEEL CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
S. S. ADONIS, her engines, boilers, tackle, etc., et al., Defendants


Bonsal, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: BONSAL

BONSAL, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Thyssen Steel Corporation ("Thyssen"), a New York corporation, instituted this action for cargo damage on April 20, 1970 against the S. S. ADONIS ("ADONIS"), her owner, Adonis Compania Naviera, S.A. ("Adonis"), a Panama corporation, and the time charterer, Teseo Steamship Corporation ("Teseo"), a New York corporation. As no process was served on the ship or her owner, Teseo is the only defendant to appear in this action. This action was tried before the court without a jury on June 7, 1973.

 In April of 1969, plaintiff, Thyssen, was the importer of a shipment of cold rolled steel coils moving from Antwerp, Belgium to Philadelphia aboard the ADONIS. The coils were purchased from Thyssen Stahl Union Export under invoice dated April 18, 1969, and were to be delivered to the Budd Co. ("Budd") in Philadelphia. The purchase agreement provided that the purchase was c.i.f. Philadelphia.

 The ADONIS was a steel steamship of 11,977 gross tons registered under the Greek flag and whose home port was Pireaus, Greece. The time charter of the ADONIS is dated September 16, 1968 between Adonis, as owner, and Teseo, as charterer, and ran for a period of 22 to 26 months, at Teseo's option. The time charter further provided that Teseo had the option of subletting the vessel for all or any part of the time covered by the charter; that the time charter was subject to the U.S.A. Clause Paramount; and Clause 8 provided:

 
". . . The Captain (although appointed by the Owners), shall be under the orders and directions of the Charterers as regards employment and agency; and Charterers are to load, stow, trim and discharge the cargo at their expense under the supervision of the Captain, who is to sign Bills of Lading for cargo as presented, in conformity with Mate's or Tally Clerk's receipts."

 On March 7, 1969, Teseo entered into a Uniform General Voyage Charter ("Voyage Charter") with Atlantic Shipping Co. S.A. ("Atlantic"), a Panama corporation, whereby Atlantic chartered the ADONIS from Teseo for a voyage from Antwerp, Belgium to one, two or three ports in the Port Everglades-Philadelphia range. (Atlantic was not made party to this lawsuit.) The Voyage Charter provided that Atlantic pay freight to Teseo at a rate of $4.75 per long ton for a minimum of 17,000 long tons, $4.35 per long ton loaded in excess of 17,000 tons, and that if the ADONIS discharged cargo at more than one port, Atlantic was to pay Teseo an extra $.25 per long ton for each additional discharging port. The Voyage Charter also provided (Clause 20):

 
"The cargo to be loaded, stowed, lashed, secured and discharged by Charterers' Stevedores free of risk and expense to the Owner." [Teseo]

 The shipment of coils was delivered to and loaded in the Number 2 hatch of the ADONIS on April 25, 1969. Bills of lading numbers 35 and 36 dated April 26, 1969 were issued by Agence Maritime Transoceanique N.V., agents of Atlantic, and stated that they were issued "FOR THE MASTER." The sole exceptions noted were that on bill of lading No. 35 was the notation "PACKING PARTLY RUST STAINED INNER EDGES OF CORE PACKING SLIGHTLY LIFTING GEAR MARKED BEFORE SHIPMENT" and on bill of lading No. 36 was the notation "RUST ON METAL ENVELOPES INNER EDGES OF CORE PACKING LIFTING GEAR MARKED BEFORE SHIPMENT." Bill of lading No. 35 covered 24 coils of cold rolled steel (13 red coils.0344 X 61 inch and weighing a total of 141.040 kilograms and 11 white coils.0375 X 45 inch and weighing a total of 184.550 kilograms). Bill of lading No. 36 covered 5 white coils.0375 X 45 inch and weighing 84.010 kilograms.

 After discharging cargo in Savannah, Georgia from May 16-22, 1969 and Wilmington, North Carolina from May 23-30, 1969, the ADONIS arrived at Philadelphia on May 31 and commenced to discharge cargo on June 2. Starting on June 2, 1969, Captain Martin Meseck, a surveyor for the plaintiff, went on board the ADONIS and inspected the cargo on board the vessel and during discharge. With him during his inspections were Captain Mistry for Charterers P & I Club, and Mr. Charles Bryant for the vessel's owners. In his survey report dated July 3, 1969, Captain Meseck stated:

 
"It must, however, be said that some of the coils were depressed in stow due to heavy overstow. Separation for the various discharging ports obviously made it necessary to stow coils in piles up to six (6) coils high. This is considered excessive, especially for the lighter gauge coils which will collapse under the pressure.
 
"In some instances the stow along the turn of the bilges was faulty subjecting coils in that area to one sided pressure, thus also causing coils to collapse.
 
* * *
 
". . . claims for depressed coils are to be expected on a moderate basis."

 The survey report of Bryant & Irwin dated June 13, 1969 stated as follows with ...


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