285 F.Supp. 426 (S.D.Tex. 1967), 2018, In re China Union Lines Limited

Docket Nº:2018.
Citation:285 F.Supp. 426
Party Name:In the Matter of the Libel and Petition of CHINA UNION LINES, LTD., Owners of the S/S UNION RELIANCE, in a cause of Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability.
Case Date:October 27, 1967
Court:United States District Courts, 5th Circuit, Southern District of Texas
 
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Page 426

285 F.Supp. 426 (S.D.Tex. 1967)

In the Matter of the Libel and Petition of CHINA UNION LINES, LTD., Owners of the S/S UNION RELIANCE, in a cause of Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability.

No. 2018.

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division.

Oct. 27, 1967.

Dan Hinds, Hinds & Meyer, Houston, Tex., for claimant Armement Deppe, S.A.

J. Donald Stillwell, Stillwell & Brown, Houston, Tex., for plaintiffs Consolidated Mariners and Partenreederei 'Marcus Bischoff'.

Robert Eikel, Eikel & Goller, Houston, Tex., for China Union Lines, Ltd.

MEMORANDUM

CONNALLY, Chief Judge.

Included among the maze of litigation ensuing from the collision of the Chinese Motor Vessel UNION RELIANCE with the Norwegian Motor Tanker BEREAN in the Houston Ship Channel in November of 1961 were the claims of the owners of three vessels allegedly delayed by the blocking of the channel. These claims by Armement Deppe, S.A., as owner of the SS LUXEMBOURG, Partenreederie 'Marcus Bischoff', as owner of the M/V MARCUS BISCHOFF, and Consolidated Mariners, Inc., as owner of the SS VILLAGE, were timely filed in the limitation proceeding instituted by China Union Lines. At a pretrial hearing, it was determined that proof of these claims should await a decision on the issue of liability for the collision.

This Court found the collision to have been caused by the negligence of the

Page 427

UNION RELIANCE and entered its interlocutory decree accordingly. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed, China Union Lines, Ltd. v. A. O. Andersen & Co., 364 F.2d 769 (1966).

As a result of the collision, the channel was closed to all marine traffic for approximately two days. Although counsel points out that during most of this time the UNION RELIANCE physically obstructed only about half the width of the channel, it is clear that any attempt to pass on the open side would have been extremely hazardous as the vessel was completely aflame and did, from tiem to time, swing on its anchors to block even this narrow avenue of passage. Accordingly, the Coast Guard acted to prevent further use of the channel until the crippled vessel could be towed away. A fire which broke out aboard the BEREAN was extinguished and the vessel was removed from the channel within a matter of hours after the collision.

The claimants herein allege several items of damage which they contend...

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