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GENERAL PUB. WAREHOUSE CO. v. QUEEN LINE

October 15, 1959

GENERAL PUBLIC WAREHOUSE COMPANY, Inc.,
v.
QUEEN LINE, LTD., Cadogan Steamship Company, Ltd., Lomand Shipping Company, Ltd., and THE S.S. SCOTIA (formerly known as THE S.S. QUEEN MAUD), her engines, boilers, tackle & equipment, etc



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUSEN

Findings of Fact

The trial judge makes the following findings of fact:

 1. At all times relevant to this action, libellant General Public Warehouse, Inc., was a corporation existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

 2. At all times relevant to this action, respondents Queen Line, Ltd., Cadogan Steamship Company, Ltd., and Lomand Shipping Company, Ltd. (allegedly no longer in existence), were all of 50 Wellington Street, Glasgow, Scotland, and were the owners and operators of the S.S. Queen Maud (later sold to Nueva Valencia Compania Naviera, S.A., claimant herein), which is now known as the S. S. Scotia.

 3. At all times relevant to this action, the respondent S. S. Scotia (formerly the S. S. Queen Maud), her engines, boilers, tackle and equipment, were within the Eastern district of Pennsylvania and within the jurisdiction of this court.

 4. The S. S. Queen Maud was a merchant vessel of the British Empire class, similar to American Liberty ships, of 7,000 gross tonnage, and with an overall length of 432.2 feet, beam of 56.3 feet, and depth of 34.2 feet. Between the No. 3 and No. 4 hatches, the engine room casing projected 8 feet above deck level for a distance of about 35 feet. Her house amidships extended 24 feet above the deck. During its stay in Philadelphia in October 1954, it had a crew of 36.

 5. From October 11 to October 15, 1954, the Queen Maud had been discharging her cargo at Pier 14, Port Richmond, Philadelphia. On the morning of October 15, she was shifted downriver to the north side of Pier 76 for engine repairs and was secured to Pier 76 at 8:20 A.M.

 6. At all times relevant to this action, libellant General Public Warehouse Company, Inc., was lessee of Piers 76 and 77 *fn1" from the United States Government.

 7. Pier 76 extends outward from the west side of the Delaware River, running in approximately a southeast-northwest direction. It is an open dock, without sheds or other structures, approximately 540 feet long, 45 feet wide, and about 5 feet above the water, with a graving dock for drydocking purposes located on the south side but not extending as far out into the river as the pier itself.

 Pier 76 was equipped with bollards on each side, evenly spread along the pier edge. These bollards were approximately 3 to 4 feet high, solidly bolted into the concreted pier foundation, and were set back on a line about 5 feet from the pier edge. There were 9 bollards on the north side of the pier and seven bollards and two cleats, similarly bolted, on the south side of the pier. Along the middle of the pier, from the shore to the outer end, were tracks for the movement of a gantry crane, which, when not in use, was kept on shore, where it was located at the time of the accident involved in this case.

 Pier 77 is to the north of, the runs parallel to, Pier 76. The south side of Pier 77 is nearly 200 feet north of the north side of Pier 76. A knuckle protrudes from the south side of Pier 77 but does not extend as far out into the river as the end of the pier itself (see Exhibit L-2A).

 8. On the morning of October 15, 1954, the Queen Maud was berthed on the north side of Pier 76, with her bow toward the shore. Her draft at this time was 9 feet forward and 12 feet, 6 inches, aft. The depth of the water on the north side of Pier 76 varied between 12, 14 and 16 feet.

 9. When it was berthed on the north side of Pier 76 in the morning of October 15, 1954, the Queen Maud was moored in the following manner: from the starboard quarter of the bow, by one 8-inch manilla rope; from the port quarter of the bow, by two 8-inch manilla ropes; from the port after end of the forecastle head, by one 8-inch manilla rope bight (one rope, coming from and attached to the ship, passing around the bollard) leading forward and attached to the same bollard as the lines from the port quarter of the bow, and by one 3 1/4-inch wire spring rope leading aft; from the port side toward the stern of the vessel, by one 3 1/4-inch wire spring rope leading forward; and at the stern of the vessel, attached to the same bollard, from the starboard outer quarter, by one 8-inch manilla rope, and from the port inboard quarter, by two 8-inch manilla ropes. The dimensions of the ropes refer to circumference. Only those bollards on the north side of Pier 76 were used (see Exhibit B of Document No. 15). $ 10. During the day of October 15, 1954, the master of the Queen Maud, James Adam, received over the radio every half hour warnings which gave the location, direction and intensity of the storm known as 'Hurricane Hazel.' Reports of this hurricane were received by the United States Weather Bureau station at Philadelphia at the latest by the late afternoon of the preceding day. At 1 P.M., October 15, 1954, the Chief Officer of the Queen Maud, Duncan Finlayson, received a warning from the Harbor Authorities that the hurricane was to pass about 70 miles west of Philadelphia at approximately 9 P.M. that evening.

 11. Shortly after 1 P.M., October 15, 1954, the master ordered additional lines put out to secure the ship. From this time up to the time of the accident, the moorings were as follows: from the starboard quarter of the bow, one 8-inch manilla rope bight; from the port quarter of the bow, one 8-inch manilla rope bight, one 3 1/4-inch steel wire spring rope, and one 5-inch insurance wire; from the port after end of the forecastle head, one 8-inch manilla rope bight leading forward and one 3 1/4-inch wire spring rope bight leading aft; from the port side toward the stern one 3 1/4-inch wire spring rope and one 8-inch manilla rope, both leading forward; at the stern, from the starboard outer quarter, one 8-inch manilla rope bight and from the port inboard quarter, one 8-inch manilla rope bight, one 8-inch ...


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