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THE COLORADO, 91 U. S. 692 (1875)

U.S. Supreme Court

The Colorado, 91 U.S. 692 (1875)

The Colorado

91 U.S. 692





1. At night, during a dense fog, a collision occurred on Lake Huron between a bark of 420 tons, bound down, and a propeller of 1,500 tons, bound up, the lake. The wind was from the south. The bark, well manned and equipped, having competent lookouts, properly stationed and vigilant in the performance of their duty, and with her foresail and light sails furled, was, at a speed not exceeding four miles an hour, sailing by the wind, close-hauled on her starboard tack, heading southeast by east, displaying the proper lights, and, as required by law and the custom of the lakes, giving frequent signals of two blasts from her fog horn, which could be heard at the distance of half a mile, which signify in that locality that she was on her starboard tack, close-hauled. She held this course until, a collision becoming inevitable, her helm was put to starboard. The propeller, with but one lookout and an insufficient watch on deck, was heading north-northwest and moving at the rate of five or six miles per hour. The officer in charge of the propeller heard but one blast of the bark's fog horn when the vessels were near each other, and ported her helm, but then, hearing two blasts of a second signal, ordered her helm hard a-starboard. Before this order had much effect, she struck the bark at an angle of about forty-five degrees on her starboard side, nearly opposite the mainmast, thereby causing the total loss of that vessel and her cargo. Held that the propeller was responsible for the disaster.

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