of events during and after the CATHERINE's contact with the anchor cable. According to both Captain Frabel, and Blemaster himself, after the cable snapped, the CATHERINE shot out from under the barge at a 90 degree turn to starboard, in a westerly direction, for approximately 100 feet before Captain Frabel was able to gain control of his unit. If, in fact, the CATHERINE had been only 70 feet from the dredge when this incident occurred, both Johnson and Blemaster would have certainly felt that a collision was imminent when the CATHERINE shot out from under the barge and headed in the direction of the WEEKS 516.
In light of the foregoing, we find that the CATHERINE attempted to comply with the GREGORY's instruction, and, in doing so, had by the time of the casualty steered somewhere between 100 and 200 feet from the WEEKs #516. We find, however, that although there is evidence that the CATHERINE slowed, it nonetheless maintained a course and speed that enabled it (in Captain Frabel's view) to pursue the path tracked by the North Star.
Causes of the Allision
The Court finds that the protrusion of the WEEKS #516 into the navigable channel and its failure to slacken its bow anchor cables upon the approach of the NORTH STAR and CATHERINE constituted hazards which partly caused the allision. The Court also finds that the failure of the CATHERINE to utilize all of its navigational aids and further slow down to accommodate clear and separate passage partly contributed to the allision. The Court attributes 66 2/3% of the fault to the WEEKS #516 and 33 1/3% of the fault to the CATHERINE.
Damage to the B-45
On the day following the accident, Turecamo placed Weeks on notice that Turecamo intended to hold Weeks liable for all damages Turecamo would incur as a result of the casualty. In response, Weeks denied any liability and advised Turecamo that the company was holding Turecamo liable for damage to the WEEKS #516 incurred as a consequence of the incident. James Newman, a vice-president of Turecamo, and Peter Austen, Risk Manager for Bouchard, testified that shortly thereafter, Bouchard placed Turecamo on notice for all of their damages associated with this incident.
On October 18, 1991, a joint survey of the B-45 occurred at the Caddell Shipyard in Staten Island, New York, while the barge was lying in drydock. Newman testified at trial that Norman C. Jensen attended the joint survey on behalf of Turecamo's underwriters' interests, while other parties in attendance included Johan P. Van Grieken - representing Bouchard's underwriters; Robert Massa -- representing Caddell Drydock & Repair Company; Robert Bouchard, Jr. -- representing Bouchard's interests; and George Wittich -- representing Weeks' interests. Testimony at trial established that the surveyors discovered damage to the barge's bow rake, damage to the barge's bottom plating (areas of which had been pushed in significantly), and internal structural damage above the damaged bottom plates. Austen testified that the surveyors, with the exception of Mr. Wittich,
determined that due to the nature of this damage the barge was not seaworthy. Accordingly, Austen testified at trial, the barge was taken out of service so that immediate repairs could be made. With the exception of Wittich, the surveyors involved in the joint survey were of the opinion that all of the damages noted were reasonably attributable to the Weeks incident.
Both Newman and Austen testified that Bouchard's total damages included:
Repairs to the B-45: $ 84,800.00
Tank cleaning and gas freeing of
the barge prior to the commencement
of work: $ 17,125.00
Towing expenses associated with
placing the B-45 in and out of
drydock: $ 2,606.75
Survey charges: $ 3,404.00
Loss of hire of the B-45
for 232.5 hours $ 58,125.00
Total Amount of Damages: $ 166,060.75
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