The opinion of the court was delivered by: BARD
This is a libel filed by the owner of a barge which came into collision with a merchant vessel in the Delaware River while the barge was being towed upstream by a tug.
On the basis of the pleadings and the testimony, I make the following special
1. The libellant is Ritner K. Walling, owner and operator of the barge Electric No. 25.
2. The Electric No. 25 is a coal barge without motive power or steering power, approximately 170 feet in length, with a carrying capacity of approximately 2,700 tons of coal.
3. The respondent, the United States of America, United States Maritime Commission, was at all material times the owner of the merchant vessel American Manufacturer, which is a steel, single screw Diesel electric vessel of 6,778 gross tons.
4. The impleaded respondent, Curtis Bay Towing Company of Pennsylvania, was at all material times the owner and operation of the tug H. C. Jefferson, which is a steam towing vessel developing 900 horse power.
5. At about 5'15 p.m. on November 30, 1946, the Electric No. 25, made fast to the starboard side of the H. C. Jefferson, was taken in tow from the Philadelphia Electric Company Wharf at Chester, Pennsylvania, bound on a voyage to Beach and Palmer streets, Philadelphia, laden with 2,500 tons of coal.
6. At all material times during the voyage the Electric No. 25 was displaying proper lights, and was wholly dependent, both for motive power and navigation, upon the H. C. Jefferson.
7. During the course of the voyage the H. C. Jefferson was exhibiting proper running lights and also towing lights indicating that she was towing a barge alongside.
8. At approximately 7:30 p.m. on November 30, 1946, the American Manufacturer left Pier 46 South Wharves, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and proceeded down the Delaware River, bound for Houston, Texas.
9. At 7:51 p.m. the master of the American Manufacturer observed an American Dredging Company tug and tow pulling out into the stream ahead of him from Pier 92 South. The American Manufacturer blew a two-blast signal at this tug. This signal was not answered. The American Manufacturer then blew a second two-blast signal, which was likewise unanswered.
10. At 7:54 p.m. the American Manufacturer's engines were ordered half speed ahead. The master of the American Manufacturer then notice, for the first time, the H. C. Jefferson coming up the river. The H. C. Jefferson and her tow were at that time approximately a mile away.
11. The master of the American Manufacturer heard the H. C. Jefferson blow a one-blast signal, but he did not answer this signal, thinking that it was intended for the American Dredging Company ...