The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY
In this admiralty proceeding the same parties are involved in two separate actions which arise out of the same series of events.
Crain Brothers, Inc., was the owner of barges used to transport coal and industrial materials on inland waterways. Union Barge Line Corporation was the managing owner of tow boats engaged in transporting barges of the type owned by Crain Brothers, Inc.
The Wieman & Ward Company was a wholesale vendor or dealer in coal. In connection therewith, said Company found it necessary to have coal transported of the inland waterways.
For purposes of brevity, the parties will be designated as follows:
Crain Brothers, Inc. -- Crain
Union Barge Line Corporation -- Union
The Wieman & Ward Company -- Wieman
Barges involved -- C.B. 325, C.B. 330
It is not in dispute that Wieman made arrangements to have coal transported from Huntington, West Virginia, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in two separate tows and that the barges in each of said tows had sunk prior to arriving at their destination. However, the details of the business relationship between the parties to the action are in dispute.
The actions are for the value of coal and damages to the barges.
Admiralty Action 235 -- Wieman against Union for value of coal based on negligence. Union joins Crain as a third party respondent based on unseaworthiness of barges.
Admiralty Action 192 -- Crain against Wieman for value of barges based on breach of charter agreement and failure to return barges in condition of delivery. Wieman joins Union as third party respondent on basis that Union had chartered barges from Crain, and Union was, therefore, liable for damages to barges.
In each of the actions Union had accepted Barges C.B. 325 and C.B. 330 from Crain. The barges were loaded at Huntington, West Virginia, with coal of Wieman for transportation to Pittsburgh, and were not overloaded.
Barge C.B. 330 sank on August 17, 1950 and Barge C.B. 325 sank on August 18, 1950, at which time the cargoes were lost and the barges damaged.
Wieman's cause of action for the value of the coal is premised on the legal thesis that it entered into agreement with Union to transport the coal, encompassing as it did, the tugs and barges, and that the coal was lost due to the negligence of Union by reason of improper navigation.
Union, in turn, claims relief from liability on the theory that Crain delivered to Union unseaworthy barges for the carriage of the cargo herein involved.
Each of the parties claims a charter arrangement incident to the use of the barges; Wieman claiming a charter between Crain and Union, and Crain claiming a charter between Crain and Wieman.
Upon a most thorough review of the testimony and the exhibits, and the inferences to be drawn therefrom, it is my judgment that no charter arrangement was established between Wieman and Crain, but a charter arrangement did exist between Crain and Union.
A charter party cannot be created by assumptions or implications. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. v. ...