The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARIS
This is a possessory suit in admiralty by which the libelant, Chesapeake Oil Transport Company, hereinafter called Chesapeake, seeks to secure the return to it by the respondents of oil barge U.S. 219, hereinafter called the barge. Respondent Steel Oil Transport Corporation, hereinafter called Steel, has filed a cross-libel against Chesapeake seeking damages for its loss of use of the barge during the time it has remained in the custody of the marshal since the institution of the suit. From the evidence I make the following
Special Findings of Fact.
On and prior to April 18, 1936, Steel was the owner of the barge and on that day it entered into a written bare boat demise charter party agreement with Chesapeake in the following form:
"Chesapeake Oil Transport Company,
"Attention of Geo. E. Rogers, Pres.
"It is hereby mutually agreed that:
"Oil Barge 'U.S. 219' is delivered to your account for the sum of $400.00 (Four hundred dollars). The second payment of $400.00 is due to be paid on May 25th, 1936 and every month thereafter on the 25th day of that month for as long as you wish to charter barge. Should charterer decide to terminate the charter and not purchase the barge, the barge is to be returned to Philadelphia at the expense of the charterer.
"Charterer is to insure at their expense the barge 'U.S. 219' for all Marine risks and explosion in a responsible and acceptable insurance company to the owners, for a valuation of $8,000.00 (Eight thousand dollars) Charter is also to carry at their expense all insurance necessary on cargoes, crew, longshoremen etc.
"If the sale price of $8,000 is agreed upon at any time by the charterer, then the owners agree to apply all charter money toward purchase price and the charterer further agrees to pay the owners at the rate of $500.00 per month on the balance due until the full purchase price of $8,000.00 has been made.
"Charterer agrees that barge is in seaworthy condition upon the time of delivery to their account and agrees to return barge in the same condition, ordinary wear and tear excepted.
"Chesapeake Oil Transport ...