The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD
These actions arise as a result of a collision between the tanker, Atlantic Dealer (owned and operated by The Atlantic Refining Company), and the barge, Patoil (owned by the Terminal Transport Co.), which was then being towed by the tug, Patco (operated by Charles T. Banks, individually and trading as Banks Towing Line as bareboat charterer, but owned by Terminal Transport Co.). A second barge, Patterson No. 3, was also being towed by the tug Patco bow first on the starboard side of the tug. The barge Patoil (fully loaded with a cargo of low pressure distillate owned by the Pennsylvania Industrial Chemical Corporation), was being towed stern first on the port side of the tug.
At the time of the collision, the flotilla was proceeding down the Delaware River, bound for Chester, and the tanker was proceeding in the opposite direction bound for Fort Mifflin with a full cargo of crude oil. The collision occurred in the Tinicum Range at about 3 o'clock A.M. on May 22, 1952. It was dark but clear with unlimited visibility for lights. The tide was ebbing with a speed of about 1 1/2 knots and there was no appreciable wind. There was no other traffic upon the river at this point which in any way interfered with the maneuvers of the two units. Their lights were first visible to each other approximately 1 1/2 to 2 miles away.
The Court, after trial, examination of the pleadings, and consideration of briefs, makes the following
1. The parties in the above captioned cases (and certain others which were consolidated with it for trial) are as follows:
(a) Terminal Transport Co., owner of the tug Patco, the barge Patoil and the barge Patterson No. 3. (The interest of Terminal Transport Co. has been assigned since this litigation was instituted; the libellant's interest in No. 145 of 1953 has been marked of record to the use of Spencer B. Downey, Jr. and Christine A. Hoefer, attorneys in fact for stockholders of Joseph M. Patterson & Co., Inc.)
(b) Charles T. Banks, bareboat charterer and operator of the tug Patco.
(c) Pennsylvania Industrial Chemical Corporation, owner of a cargo of low pressure distillate aboard the barge Patoil.
(d) The Atlantic Refining Co., owner and operator of the tanker SS Atlantic Dealer.
2. The physical characteristics of the vessels involved in the casualty which gave rise to the above litigation were as follows:
(a) Atlantic Dealer, 504 feet long, 68 feet wide, with a maximum draft of 30.6 feet, 10,900 gross tons, fully loaded with a cargo of crude oil, equipped with radar which was in good operating condition but not used at any material time. She also had a course recorder in good operating condition whose time record was the same as or not more than a minute faster than the bridge clock and whose course recorder was either accurate or showing an error of not more than one degree low. When loaded and proceeding full ahead against a 1 1/2 knot tide, if the engines are put full astern, it takes between 2 and 3 minutes to stop the tanker.
(c) Barge Patoil, 110 feet long, 30 feet wide, 307 gross tons, loaded with a cargo of low pressure distillate. This vessel had no propelling or steering machinery.
(d) Barge Patterson No. 3, 155 feet long, 35 feet wide, 556 gross tons, without cargo. This vessel had no ...