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THE ALRISA

April 12, 1948

THE ALRISA. THE SAM CRAIG


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GIBSON

The court, after hearing and consideration, makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law:

Findings of Fact

 1. The libellant, Alex J. Slepski, was on November 14, 1946, the owner of a diesel propelled motor towboat known as The Alrisa.

 2. The steam towboat Sam Craig, on November 14, 1946, was in the possession of Dravo Corporation, and was being operated by it as bailee thereof.

 3. On November 14, 1946, The Alrisa was propelling a tank barge 135 feet long and 26 feet wide, loaded with gasoline, up the Monongehela River, and approximately at 10:45 P.M. was beneath the Donora-Webster Bridge.

 4. At the same time The Sam Craig, propelling six steel barges, loaded with coal and coke, down the Monongahela River, was approximately one-half mile above the Donora-Webster Bridge. These barges were each 175 feet long, and arranged in a double row of three on each side. The Sam Craig was 178 feet long.

 5. At about 1,000 feet above the Donora-Webster Bridge the port end of the front barge of The Sam Craig collided with the port side of The Alrisa about 10 feet from its stern, and as a result of the collision The Alrisa later sank in the Monongahela River.

 6. Prior to the collision both The Alrisa and The Sam Craig were close to the middle line of the river. This position was dangerous to The Alrisa because its lack of power and speed endangered it in attempting to avoid towboats coming down the river. It was also dangerous to The Sam Craig because the ordinary course of descending boats propelling tows was about 150 feet nearer the eastern 0ank of the river.

 7. The width of the river at the point of collision was about 550 to 600 feet.

 8. At the time of the collision visibility was restricted to about one-half mile by haze or smoke.

 9. When in the immediate neighborhood of the Donora-Webster Bridge The Alrisa flashed a light signal which was answered by a flash from The Sam Craig. Thereafter The Alrisa gave no signal by whistle or light. When about 1500 feet from it the pilot of The Alrisa first saw The Sam Craig. Had he used due care that vessel could have been seen at a distance of at least 4,000 feet.

 10. When approximately 1500 feet from The Alrisa the pilot of The Sam Craig sounded one blast of a whistle to indicate passage to port. Shortly thereafter he gave four short blasts as a danger signal, and after a short interval the collision followed. When the danger signal was given The Sam Craig was at once put into full speed in reverse.

 12. After the collision The Alrisa was moved by The Sam Craig from the approximate point of the impact to a point nearer the west bank of the ...


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