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MIRANDA v. TEXACO

May 19, 1969

Jaime F. G. MIRANDA
v.
TEXACO, INC.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD, III

 JOSEPH S. LORD, III, District Judge.

 Findings of Fact

 1. On or about July 27, 1963, the plaintiff was employed by the defendant as an ordinary seaman on the 4 to 8 watch aboard the SS Texaco Wisconsin, a merchant vessel which was owned, operated, controlled and maintained by the defendant.

 2. On or about July 27, 1963, on the 4 to 8 watch in the afternoon the port anchor of the SS Texaco Wisconsin was dropped in Balboa, Panama Canal Zone.

 3. At the time the anchor was dropped in Balboa AB seaman Norman was on the wheel, first mate Anderson was at the bow of the vessel, and the plaintiff was stationed at the anchor brake.

 4. In order to drop the anchor the plaintiff, upon the instructions of Anderson, opened the brake to allow the anchor chain to pass through the chain pipe from the chain locker over the wildcat and through the hawse pipe.

 5. When the plaintiff, acting upon instructions from Anderson, opened the brake the anchor chain ran freely and from it there arose an unusual cloud of dust which enveloped the plaintiff.

 6. The port anchor had last been raised when the ship had left a California port some six days before its arrival in Balboa.

 7. The dust which enveloped the plaintiff came from the anchor chain and resulted because the mud from the bottom had not been properly cleaned from the chain when the anchor chain was raised.

 8. If the anchor chain had been properly cleaned the amount of dust would have been minimal and of no consequence.

 9. The cloud of dust was unusually and excessively large and was large enough to have been seen by Norman in the wheelhouse and by the second pump man, Canada, who were both a substantial distance from the anchor chain.

 10. The customary method of washing mud from the anchor chain is by the use of a fire hose played on the chain as it is brought in. Because of the fexibility and mobility of the fire hose, the crewman handling it is able to reach all sides and all portions of the chain with the stream of water flowing from the hose, in addition to which if any portion of the chain is not thoroughly cleaned, the chain can be stopped and the hose played on the uncleaned portion to remove the mud.

 11. The wash down system on the SS Texaco Wisconsin consisted of a spigot having a small diameter which could play upon only one portion of the chain as it was brought in and stopping the chain would not enable the stream from the spigot to reach any ...


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