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CONRAIL v. M/T HOEGH FORUM

December 11, 1985

CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION, Plaintiff
v.
M/T HOEGH FORUM (In Rem) and LEIF HOEGH & CO., S/A and PETROLSEA INC. OF MONROVIA, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHAPIRO

 NORMA L. SHAPIRO, J.

 Plaintiff Consolidated Rail Corporation ("Conrail") claims that it has suffered approximately $24,503.70 in economic losses because the defendant ship M/T Hoegh Forum (the "vessel") was berthed without its consent from September 24-26, 1984 at Pier 124, South Wharves, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ("Pier 124 or the "pier"), a pier owned by Conrail. Defendants Leif Hoegh & Co., S/A ("Leif Hoegh") (the owner and operator of the M/T Hoegh Forum) and Petrolsea Inc. of Monrovia ("Petrolsea") have each moved for summary judgment and/or judgment on the pleadings. *fn1" The court grants summary judgment in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff.

 Conrail invokes this court's admiralty and maritime jurisdiction within the meaning of Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(h) and 28 U.S.C. ยง 1333. Conrail is the owner of Pier 124, South Wharves, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The pier is operated by Northern Contracting Company ("Northern"). The vessel, operated as a carrier of coal in ocean transportation by its owners, Leif Hoegh, was berthed at Pier 124 with the consent of Conrail or Northern on September 23, 1984. At approximately 7:00 a.m. that day it commenced loading coal; loading was scheduled for completion at approximately 6:30 p.m. on September 24, 1984.

 Conrail's "Rules and Regulations Governing the Registration, Order of Assignment to Berth and Removal of Vessels at Pier 124, South Philadelphia, PA, effective September 7, 1982" (the "Rules and Regulations") provide in part:

 
In no case shall a Vessel remain in its berth more than 30 minutes after loading is completed or terminated by the Master and all safe conditions for leaving berth have been met, unless special arrangements are made with the Pier Manager.

 According to these Rules and Regulations, if the coal were loaded according to schedule, the vessel would leave Pier 124 by 7:00 p.m. on September 24, 1984, if all safe conditions for leaving berth had been met, unless "special arrangements" had been made.

 On September 24, 1984, Petrolsea invoked this court's admiralty and maritime jurisdiction against Leif Hoegh for breach of a charter party involving a ship other than the M/T Hoegh Forum. Petrolsea Inc. of Monrovia v. Leif Hoegh & Co., S/A, Civil Action No. 84-4558. Petrolsea's complaint provided in part:

 
4. On information and belief, Leif Hoegh cannot be found within the district of this court.
 
5. On information and belief the vessel Hoegh Forum belongs to Leif Hoegh and is now, or during the pendency of this action, will be within jurisdiction of this Court.
 
. . . .

 WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays:

 
. . . .
 
(b) That a writ of attachment be issued against the M/T HOEGH FORUM, her engines, boilers, etc., pursuant to Rule B of the Federal Supplemental Admiralty Rules and the practice of this Court, and that all persons having or claiming any interest therein be cited to appear and answer under oath, all and singular the matters aforesaid, and that judgment be entered in favor of plaintiff for the damages ...

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