The opinion of the court was delivered by: Clary, District Judge.
Michael John Brabazon, the libellant has brought this action
against Belships Co., Ltd., Skibs, A/S, Christen Smith & Co.,
respondent, to recover damages for injuries sustained by a fall
in the No. 1 hold of the S.S. "Beljeanne" on December 29, 1949.
From the pleadings and proof in this case I make the following
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
1. At all times hereinafter set forth libellant was a
longshoreman in the employ of Jarka Corporation of Philadelphia,
2. The respondent, Belships Co., Ltd., Skibs, A/S, Christen
Smith & Co., was at all times hereinafter set forth the owner and
operator of the S.S. "Beljeanne".
3. Said S.S. "Beljeanne" was at all times herein material lying
in navigable waters at Girard Point in Philadelphia, engaged in
taking aboard a cargo of locomotives and tenders for overseas
4. On December 29, 1949, at 7 o'clock p.m., libellant was
directed by his employer to go to work to lash tenders in the No.
1 hold of the S.S. "Beljeanne".
5. S.S. "Beljeanne" was adapted for the carriage of railroad
rolling stock and large machinery. Prior to noon of December 29,
1949, two railroad locomotives had been stowed at the bottom and
forward part of hold No. 1. Four locomotives had been stowed on
the bottom after part of said hold. On the level above the
locomotive and resting on steel beams supported by "A"-frames
that had been erected over the two locomotives located on the
bottom and forward part of the hold, five tenders had been placed
abreast. To the rear six tenders had been rested on beams
supported in like manner on "A"-frames above the row of four
locomotives situate on the bottom of the after part of the hold.
The tenders in question measured in excess of 20 feet in length,
8 feet in width, and 11 feet in height and resting on the beams
were in close proximity one to the other with very little
6. Preliminary to the lashing operations on the evening of
December 29, 1949, one of the ship's officers had directed the
manner and place of lashings to be made by the lashing gangs.
7. In preparation for the lashing operation, libellant's
employer had requested the mate to furnish lights to be used in
the No. 1 hold. At the time of the beginning of operations at 7
p.m. there were three cluster lights in the hold which had been
connected and lowered by the ship's electrician.
8. The manner of operation of the lashing gang was as follows:
The gang was split into three teams of three men each and each
team took a cluster light and rigged it a short distance over the
head of the team and over the place where they were assigned to
work by the foreman of libellant's employer. One team commenced
the lashing from the forward end of the first row of tenders to
the forward bulkhead of the hold on the port side; a second team
of which libellant was a member was assigned to make a lashing
between the forward and afterrow of tenders and the port side of
ship; a third team began to lash on the port side between the
rows of tenders opposite libellant's team.
9. In order to perform the work assigned, it was necessary for
the libellant and the members of his gang to work on a level
above the locomotives. To do so it was necessary for libellant
and the members of his gang to work at that level on staging made
from lumber supplied by the ship.
10. The staging and/or platform scaffold required to be used in
the lashing operations was a necessary temporary appurtenance of
11. At the time libellant and coworkers arrived at the
designated locations, they found boards and planks on top of the
locomotives and tenders extending between the port side of the
vessel and between the locomotives themselves. These boards were
loose and varied sizes in length, breadth and thickness. Some
were lengths of staging lumber, others sweat boards taken from
the ribs of the vessel, others an in-between size. Each gang of
lashers rearranged the boards found at the time of arrival at the
work to provide scaffolding in the area in which they were to
12. Among other platforms and runways located in the hold at
the time libellant and coworkers arrived to begin operations,
there was an apparent walkway composed of two boards, each about
8 feet in length, and extending ...