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REED v. THE S.S. YAKA

April 29, 1960

Elijah REED, Libellant,
v.
THE Steamship YAKA, her engines, boilers, machinery, etc., Respondent(Waterman Steamship Corporation, Owner and Claimant) v. PAN-ATLANTIC STEAMSHIP CORPORATION, Impleaded Respondent



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CLARY

This is a libel in rem against the S.S. 'Yaka' to recover for injuries sustained by the libellant on March 23rd, 1956, while employed as a longshoreman on board that vessel. From the pleadings and proof, the Court makes the following

Findings of Fact

 1. The Court has jurisdiction of the parties and the subject matter of this proceeding.

 2. Libellant is a citizen and resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and at all times mentioned herein was employed as a longshoreman by the Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corporation (hereinafter known as 'Pan-Atlantic' to assist in the loading and unloading of cargo aboard the S.S. 'Yaka'.

 3. On March 19, 1956, Waterman Steamship Corporation (hereinafter known as 'Waterman'), as owner of the S.S. 'Yaka' had delivered that vessel to Pan-Atlantic under a written bare boat charter.

 4. As part of the charter agreement, Pan-Atlantic agreed to indemnify and hold harmless Waterman against any liens of whatsoever nature and against any claims arising out of the operation of the vessel by Pan-Atlantic or out of any act or neglect of Pan-Atlantic in relation to the vessel.

 5. On March 23, 1956, the S.S. 'Yaka' was in possession and control of Pan-Atlantic under the terms of the said bare boat charter, and was lying in navigable waters at Pier A, Port Richmond, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 6. On that day Pan-Atlantic undertook to load a cargo of chocolate in cans and cartons aboard the vessel.

 7. It provided its own facilities and longshoremen for the loading.

 8. Libellant was one of these longshoremen assigned to stow the said chocolate in No. 2 lower 'tween deck of the S.S. 'Yaka'.

 9. At about 2 p.m. on March 23rd, 1956, libellant and other longshoremen laid a floor of the cases of chocolate syrup to act as insulation for the chocolate candy.

 10. Cases of chocolate syrup were, therefore, stowed on the deck of the 'tween deck about 2 1/2 feet high in the forward end of the hatch and in the wings.

 11. The hatch square of the 'tween deck contained no cargo.

 12. The cartons of chocolate candy were then brought aboard on wooden pallets, using ship's winches, and lowered into the hold where the individual cartons were to be removed and stowed by hand.

 13. The wooden pallets or cargo trays were constructed of strips of boards approximately an inch thick nailed to blocks at each end and reinforced at the corners, making a hollow rectangular pallet about 4 feet wide, 6 feet long and 4 inches high. Pallets of this type are commonly used for loading cargo in the Port of Philadelphia.

 14. These particular pallets belonged to Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corporation.

 15. Certain of these pallets were used to make up a staging or platform equal in height to the cases of chocolate used for insulating, so that the drafts of chocolate could be landed at a height equal to the top of the insulating cargo and were thus more easily and quickly stowed.

 16. The use of such pallets in this way was the customary, accepted and proper practice when loading cargo of this nature.

 18. As the draft of chocolate would be let down into the square of the hatch by the winch, it would be grabbed by three longshoremen and steadied above the deck.

 19. One of these longshoremen would then give the winchman instructions to move the draft inshore toward the staging.

 20. When the draft was in front of the staging, and still suspended in the air, the three longshoremen would push the draft over the staging.

 21. At this point, libellant, who was standing on the staging area, would come forward and assist the other three longshoremen by pulling the draft onto the staging, while they pushed it forward.

 22. When the draft was so suspended over the staging, it was the practice for any one of these four longshoremen to yell up to the winchman to lower the draft onto the staging, since he was not ...


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