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NAVIEROS OCEANIKOS, S. A. v. S. T. MOBIL TRADER

February 27, 1976

NAVIEROS OCEANIKOS, S. A., owner of the LIBERIAN VESSEL TRADE DARING, Plaintiff,
v.
S. T. MOBIL TRADER, her engines, boilers, etc., Mobil Oil Corporation, the owner of the MOBIL TRADER, and Mobil Sales & Supply Corporation, Defendants and Third-Party Plaintiffs, v. TRADE & TRANSPORT, INC., Third-Party Defendant


Werker, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WERKER

WERKER, District Judge.

In the early morning hours of March 18, 1971 a fire broke out on board the Liberian tanker M/V Trade Daring. The damage which ensued resulted in the vessel being termed a "constructive total loss." This action was brought to determine responsibility for the fire and resultant damage.

 The plaintiff Navieros Oceanikos (Oceanikos) is a corporation incorporated in the Republic of Panama and was the owner of the Liberian flag vessel Trade Daring (Daring).

 Defendant Mobil Oil Corporation (Mobil) is incorporated in the State of New York and was the owner of the S. T. Mobil Trader (Trader).

 Defendant Mobil Sales and Supply Corporation (Sales) is a corporation incorporated in the State of Delaware and on January 1, 1971 had entered into a marine fuel oil sales contract with Trade & Transport, Inc. (Transport) to furnish fuel and diesel oil to vessels specified by Transport.

 The third-party defendant Transport is a corporation incorporated in the State of New York and was the agent employed by Oceanikos on behalf of the Daring to arrange for the bunkering of the vessel during all relevant times.

 The Daring was built in 1955 as a combination oil and ore carrier according to the construction standards of the American Bureau of Shipping and Germanischer Lloyd, the classification societies which establish and administer those standards. Oceanikos discontinued classing the vessel with Germanischer Lloyd when it purchased the vessel. At the time of the fire it was classed solely with the American Bureau of Shipping. The Trader is a self-propelled steel tank barge built in 1967 and was employed by Mobil for general bunkering service. It has four cargo tanks subdivided into eight compartments.

 At the time of the fire on March 18, 1971 the design, construction and condition of the fuel oil tanks, including deep tanks, service and settling tanks, the overflow tanks and the venting, overflow and save all systems of the Daring were in full compliance with the classification requirements of the American Bureau of Shipping. She was fully in class. Furthermore the design, construction and condition of the Daring's vent full transfer and save all systems were in conformity with good engineering design and practice and with the laws or regulations pertaining to this vessel.

 The vessel because it was constructed in 1955 was not subject to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (1960) (Solas -- 1960) but the fire fighting and safety equipment of the Daring was in full compliance with the convention.

 The engineering personnel aboard the Daring were not licensed under the laws of Liberia as they were required to be.

 On March 16, 1971 the Daring arrived at the port of New York with a cargo of fuel oil to be discharged at the Hess Oil Terminal, Perth Amboy, New Jersey and completed discharge of the cargo March 17, 1971. On or about the same day Mobil was requested by Sales to deliver diesel fuel oil to the Daring and it dispatched Trader to effect the delivery. On March 17, 1971 at 1300 hours Trader was sent to Port Mobil where she loaded 25/26 tons in port tank #1 and a total of 349 tons in starboard and port #3 tanks for an aggregate amount of 375 tons of diesel fuel.

 Bunkering of the Daring was scheduled for 1930 hours on March 17, 1971 at the Hess Oil Terminal, Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The Trader left Port Mobil at 1900 hours and made fast to the Daring starboard side to starboard side at 1920 hours. Bunkering was delayed because the Daring had not completed discharge of her cargo. Regulations at the terminal prohibited bunkering during discharge operations.

 The fuel oil hoses were taken aboard the Daring and connected at 2220 hours on March 17, 1971.

 The pumps of the Trader could pump a maximum of 200 tons per hour at the maximum rate of 1500 rpm's ...


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