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THE ELEC. NO. 21

July 28, 1947

THE ELECTRIC NO. 21. THE HERCULES


The opinion of the court was delivered by: KIRKPATRICK

1. At approximately 6:00 p.m. on January 11, 1945, the coal barge Electric 21, without cargo, proceeded in tow, made fast on the starboard side of the tug Hercules, from Delaware County Light Company plant at South Chester, bound to Greenwich Coal Piers, Philadelphia.

2. The Electric 21 is a coal barge 170 feet in length, 40 foot beam, depth 18 feet, with a carrying capacity of 3,000 tons, with no motive power or steering power, and her navigation was in full charge of the Hercules.

 3. The tug Hercules is a steam towing vessel 93 gross and 63 net tons, 92.3 feet in length, 21 foot beam and 8.8 feet depth and at the time was operated and owned by The Curtis Bay Towing Company of Pennsylvania, a Pennsylvania Corporation.

 4. At all times involved the tide was ebb, the weather clear and visibility good.

 5. On the same evening the oil screw tug Margot Moran was proceeding from Philadelphia down the Delaware River, bound to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with the coastwise barge Patricia Sheridan made fast on her port side, and with the Barge Gossan made fast on her starboard side. The navigation and movement of both these barges was under the control of the Margot Moran. The Patricia Sheridan was 187.2 feet in length and 34 foot beam, while the Gossan was 167.2 feet in length, 35.6 foot beam and 12.8 feet depth.

 6. Both tugs and tows were at all times exhibiting proper lights.

 7. The Hercules was navigating on her own left-hand or Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River outside the dredged channel while the Margot Moran and her flotilla were navigating in the channel of the river and were proceeding practically on the Tinicum ranges.

 8. The navigators of the respective tugs observed each other in ample time and with sufficient separating space to have avoided a collision; both had ample width of navigable water in which to navigate, and there were no other vessels in the vicinity which interfered with the operation of the two flotillas.

 9. Captain Morris of the Hercules was navigating her and also keeping a lookout, and the made Caldwell was sitting in the pilot house.

 10. Matthews, the mate of the Moran, now deceased, was navigating her in her pilot house, and he had with him a deckhand.

 11. The Moran with her flotilla was proceeding with the tide at a speed of approximately seven miles per hour, while the Hercules and her tow were proceeding against the tide at a speed of about three miles per hour. The two flotillas thus were approaching each other at a combined speed of ten miles per hour, or approximately nine hundred feet per minute.

 12. Morris, the navigator of the Hercules, saw the Moran's lights between a half mile and a mile distant. Shortly thereafter he blew a two whistle signal to indicate a starboard to starboard passing. He heard no answer to this signal. He did not repeat the signal nor were any danger signals blown by the Hercules.

 13. The speed of the Hercules and her tow was not checked and she was running her full speed of three miles per hour at the time of the collision.

 14. The Moran continued at a speed of seven miles per hour until she was about 200 feet distant from the Hercules and her tow when her master reversed her engines, and almost ...


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