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GELLENTHIN v. S.S. CONCORDIA SUN

May 9, 1962

Albert R. GELLENTHIN, Sr., Albert R. Gellenthin, Jr., and Paul L. Gellenthin, t/a Gellenthin Oil Transport Company, Owners of the ARGOIL NO. 105, Libellants,
v.
S.S. CONCORDIA SUN, her engines, boilers, tackle, machinery, etc., Respondent. D/S I/S IDAHO, Libellant, v. TUG REBECCA and Tank Barge Argoil No. 105, Respondents



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GANEY

In connection with the above mentioned matters, the court makes the following Findings of Fact:

1. Albert R. Gellenthin, Sr., Albert R. Gellenthin, Jr., and Paul L. Gellenthin, trading as Gellenthin Oil Transport Company, at all times material to these suits, owned and operated the tug Rebecca and tank barge Argoil No. 105.

 2. The tank barge Argoil No. 105 is a steel-hull, motorless oil barge, 195 feet long, 35 feet broad with a draft of 10 feet. The tug Rebecca is a steam-powered harbor tug 75 feet long with a draft of 7 feet and a capacity of 300 horsepower.

 3. The Concordia Sun is an 8500 horsepower diesel cargo ship of 4700 gross tons. It is 419 feet 6 inches long, her beam is 56 feet 10 inches and her draft is 13 feet forward and 19 feet aft.

 4. By agreement of counsel, the original suit, No. 373 of 1956, In Admiralty, and the cross-libel, No. 403 of 1956, were tried together.

 6. The tug Rebecca and barge, making about 5 1/2 knots over the ground, were navigating over the eastern or New Jersey side of the Delaware River. The Rebecca would navigate in the channel and on occasion swing out of the channel toward the Jersey side whenever a ship was sighted going upbound, otherwise she did not leave the channel.

 7. The Concordia Sun picked up Pilot Harry D. Lemmon at Chesapeake City, New Jersey, at 5:10 p.m., daylight time, and proceeded up the Delaware River toward Philadelphia. Pilot Lemmon held State and Federal licenses for pilotage on the Delaware River and had thirty years experience as a Delaware River pilot.

 8. The channel on the Chester and Marcus Hook ranges is 800 feet wide. The upstream or Chester range is 1.08 nautical miles in length, and the downstream or Marcus Hook range is 4.27 nautical miles in length. Proceeding from the Chester range into the Marcus Hook range there is a bend of 7 degrees to the right, that is to the Pennsylvania side of the River. At the junction of the two ranges, the western side of the channel is marked by bell buoy 1C, which has a quick-flashing green light, and on the eastern or Jersey side it is marked by an unlighted nun buoy designated as 2C.

 9. A little less than a nautical mile on the Chester range above nun buoy 2C, on the eastern or New Jersey side of the channel, is a flashing buoy, 4C.

 10. The tug Rebecca and barge Argoil No. 105 were proceeding on the Chester range at buoy 4C on the eastern side of the channel and then gradually navigated along the eastern edge thereof until they reached nun buoy 2C, when they went outside of it and in passing it they were 20 feet beyond nun buoy 2C.

 11. The tug Rebecca was operating with both red and green running lights, range lights and two vertical lights on the masthead and was about a mile and a half away from the Concordia Sun when it observed the Concordia Sun's red and green running lights coming head-on, and the same were visible to within 1,000 feet of the Concordia Sun. The tug Rebecca saw no other vessel around it.

 12. The Concordia Sun was being navigated upstream on a course 2 degrees to the right of the range course in the Marcus Hook segment of the channel. The Pilot of the Concordia Sun saw the Rebecca when he was about a mile and a half away with both red and green running lights showing, and the Marosa, a vessel coming downstream on the western side of the channel on the Chester range, was about a mile astern of the tug Rebecca and barge.

 13. The Concordia Sun was proceeding upstream at about 1/2 speed when it blew one blast of its whistle, seeing the running lights and navigation lights of the tug Rebecca head-on. This ...


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