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TROVATTEN v. UNITED STATES

April 6, 1972

Olaf TROVATTEN
v.
UNITED STATES of America


Troutman, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: TROUTMAN

TROUTMAN, District Judge.

 I.

 JURISDICTION

 II.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Plaintiff, Olaf B. Trovatten, was born in Risor, Norway, and became a naturalized United States citizen.

 2. Plaintiff first came to the United States in 1935 and sailed in the United States Merchant Marine fleet through World War II and until 1947, when he returned to Norway for a period of ten years. Since his return from Norway, he has remained in the United States.

 3. Plaintiff has been sailing as a seaman since he was sixteen years old and at the time of trial had thirty-five years of experience.

 4. In addition to practically all of the deck ratings for which he has been certified by the United States Coast Guard, he sailed as a Third Mate during World War II.

 5. At the time of plaintiff's injury, January 3, 1967, aboard defendant's vessel, plaintiff was sailing as deck maintenance man. The vessel was at that time in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.

 6. Plaintiff joined the SS Denison Victory in July of 1966 and had previously completed a voyage to the Far East and was on his second voyage on defendant's vessel at the time of his injury.

 7. The SS Denison Victory was a public vessel owned by the United States of America and at the time of plaintiff's injury being operated by the Marine Transport Lines under a husbanding arrangement.

 8. On January 3, 1967, between 8:00 and 9:00 A.M., plaintiff was engaged in duty required of him in the raking in of the port gangway.

 9. The gangway was an old one, being of the hinged variety with a platform and was made of wood and steel, approximately 35 feet long and weighing approximately one thousand pounds.

 10. Equipment being used to rake the gangway in, was a frapping line and two handy billies.

 11. In the process, and before the job was completed, plaintiff's hand was caught between the side of the gangway and the ship's gunnels when the gangway was suddenly heaved in.

 12. As a result of being caught between the side of the gangway and the ship's gunnels, plaintiff's left ring finger was badly cut.

 13. The method utilized by the ship's officers for raking in of the port gangway, was inherently dangerous and was elected despite the existence of other methods, which were both better suited for the task at hand and safer to perform, viz., the use of the ship's winches and gear and avoidance of both manual labor and exposure.

 14. Considering the method used for the raking in of the port gangway, the ship's officers failed to furnish sufficient manpower to do so.

 15. Considering the method used for the raking in of the port gangway, the ship's officers failed to ...


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