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NORJAC TRADING CORP. v. THE MATHILDA THORDEN

May 12, 1959

NORJAC TRADING CORPORATION, Libellant,
v.
THE MATHILDA THORDEN, her engines, boilers, machinery, etc. and all persons having any interest therein, and Gust, B. Thorden, Trading as Thorden, Lines, her owner, Respondents



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAFT

This is an action in admiralty to recover damages for the loss by spoilage of a shipment of horse-radish roots, allegedly caused by respondents' negligence.

The action was tried to the Court without a jury. Counsel have submitted requests for findings of fact, conclusions of law and supporting briefs. From the evidence, we make the following

 Findings of Fact

 1. Libellant, Norjac Trading Corporation, is now, and at all material times was, a corporation having its principal office and place of business at No. 101 South 39th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 3. Respondent, Gust. B. Thorden, was at all material times engaged in the business of operating merchant vessels in foreign trade, under the name and style of Thorden Lines, having a principal office and place of business at Uddevalla, Sweden.

 4. Libellant, at all times material to this action, was the consignee and owner of a shipment of 80 bags of horse-radish roots, transported on board the Motorship Mathilda Thorden, owned and operated by respondent, Thorden Lines, from Gothenberg, Sweden, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, under the terms and conditions of a bill of lading issued by the carrier at Gothenberg on October 25, 1954.

 5. The horse-radish roots were received by the carrier in good order and condition, and, as expressly provided in the bill of lading, were stowed in the 'reefer space' or refrigerated compartment of the ship, where cool, even temperature conditions could be safely maintained to prevent spoilage of the roots.

 6. The Mathilda Thorden proceeded from Gothenberg to New York, arriving there on November 7, 1954. On the following day, respondents' agents advised the master that, owing to a current dock strike at Philadelphia, the vessel would be required to proceed directly to Baltimore, unless the dock strike should be settled in time to permit the scheduled call at Philadelphia.

 7. The bill of lading contained a provision that in the event strike conditions made delivery of cargo at the designated port unsafe, the carrier was authorized to make delivery at the nearest safe port. There was no strike in progress at Baltimore.

 8. The Mathilda Thorden sailed from New York on November 9th, and, in the absence of contrary instructions from her agents, by-passed Philadelphia and reached Baltimore on Wednesday, November 10, 1954.

 9. Some time before noon on November 10, 1954, respondents' Philadelphia agent telephoned to libellant's Philadelphia agent, Morris Friedman, Inc., advising that the shipment of horse-radish roots would be discharged that afternoon in Baltimore.

 10. Morris Friedman, Inc., thereupon, by special delivery letter, requested R. G. Hobelmann Co., in Baltimore, to act as libellant's agent, to take all necessary steps to receive the shipment and to arrange to have the goods transported to Philadelphia. Friedman forwarded to Hobelmann the documents that the consignee was required to produce in order to arrange for customs entry and delivery.

 11. Hobelmann received the shipping documents on the morning of November 11, 1954, and proceeded to prepare the usual consumption entry and release order forms, and delivered the necessary papers to the ...


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