477 F.Supp. 45 (E.D.La. 1979), Civ. A. 76-2095, Micmar Motorship Corp. v. Cabaneli Naviera S.A.

Docket Nº:Civ. A. 76-2095
Citation:477 F.Supp. 45
Party Name:Micmar Motorship Corp. v. Cabaneli Naviera S.A.
Case Date:July 31, 1979
Court:United States District Courts, 5th Circuit, Eastern District of Louisiana
 
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477 F.Supp. 45 (E.D.La. 1979)

MICMAR MOTORSHIP CORPORATION, Plaintiff,

v.

CABANELI NAVIERA S.A., in personam, MS THEODEGMON, her engines, tackle, furniture, apparel, etc., in rem, Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 76-2095.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana.

July 31, 1979

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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M. D. Yager, New Orleans, for plaintiff.

Robert B. Fisher, Jr., New Orleans, for defendants.

CASSIBRY, District Judge:

This case was submitted to the court on depositions, exhibits and briefs. After careful consideration of those materials and the applicable rules of law, I have decided in favor of the defendant. My findings and conclusions are set out below.

I.

The M/T THEODEGMON is a motor tanker with an overall length of approximately 201.5 meters and a breadth of 36 meters. It has diesel engines. At all times relevant to this action, it was owned by the defendant Cabaneli Naviera, S.A. The M/V MISTER MICHAEL is a merchant vessel approximately 227 meters long and 28.5 meters wide. At all times relevant to this action, it was owned by the plaintiff Micmar Motorship Corp.

On the night of January 12, 1979, the THEODEGMON was heading upstream in the Mississippi River. It was traveling on the right-hand, or eastern side of the river. The master of the ship was Stavros Samaras (Stavros). Its Mississippi River pilot at the time was Richard McNeely. At about 10:30 P.M., as the THEODEGMON arrived at the vicinity of the New Orleans General Anchorage, it sustained a sudden and complete loss of power that eliminated all its engine, steering, radio, lights, and whistle facilities. The THEODEGMON began to fall off to port, in the direction of the General Anchorage, which is along the western bank of the river. As the vessel continued to fall off in this direction, McNeely ordered the starboard anchor let go in an effort to stop his drifting ship. Subsequently, he ordered the port anchor let go. The THEODEGMON, however, entered the general anchorage and collided with a Swedish vessel called the MALMLAND at approximately 10:38 P.M. Shortly after the collision, several tugboats came to the assistance of the THEODEGMON. They maneuvered the THEODEGMON away from the MALMLAND and for several hours held it parallel to but somewhat behind that vessel, on the starboard side.

The MISTER MICHAEL was anchored immediately astern and slightly starboard of the MALMLAND. It, in turn, had various vessels near it in the general anchorage. Perantinos Stamatios (Perantinos) was the master of the MISTER MICHAEL. No Mississippi River pilot was aboard the vessel at the time the THEODEGMON collided with the MALMLAND. A pilot, Irvin Janssen, came aboard at 1:48 A.M. on January 13, 1979. After conferring with the master of the MISTER MICHAEL about the circumstances surrounding the collision that had taken place immediately in front of the vessel, Janssen recommended that the MISTER MICHAEL not attempt to move from its current position. Perantinos followed that recommendation. 1 This action was based on a belief that the anchor chains of the THEODEGMON had crossed those of the MISTER MICHAEL. Any maneuver that the MISTER MICHAEL might have attempted in order to get out of its position in the general anchorage would have required the lifting of its anchors. 2 The MISTER MICHAEL remained at the

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general anchorage until after the THEODEGMON heaved in its anchors and changed its position at about 11:00 A.M. that morning.

In the instant action, the plaintiff complains that the THEODEGMON wrongly prevented the MISTER MICHAEL from being able promptly to steam upriver to take a berth that came available to it at the Bunge Grain Elevator. The MISTER MICHAEL did later take on grain at that elevator. The plaintiff therefore seeks to recover for the delay, plus associated damages.

II.

An initial issue to be settled is whether the anchor chains of the MISTER MICHAEL and the THEODEGMON were in fact crossed. The plaintiff has failed to prove such entanglement. The only direct evidence on this point is the fact that when the THEODEGMON heaved in its anchors prior to its change of...

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