The Servia - 149 U.S. 144 (1893)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Servia, 149 U.S. 144 (1893)
Argued April 12-13, 1893
Decided April 24, 1893
149 U.S. 144
A steam vessel, the N., backed out from her slip in Jersey City, toward the middle of the Hudson River between Jersey City and New York, preparatory to turning down to go to sea. Another steam vessel, the S., was going down, above the N., and nearer the New York shore, on her way to sea. It was customary and necessary for the N. to back out of her
slip to about the middle of the river. The S. knew of such practice of
the N. When the N. had reached the middle of the river she stopped her engines and the S. assumed she would go ahead, and herself proceeded without any material change of course, under slow speed, until she got near enough to observe that the N. was continuing to make sternway at considerable speed, and might bring herself in the path of the S. Then the S. stopped her engines, being about 1,000 feet away from the N., and one minute after, upon observing that the N. still continued to make sternway at a speed which indicated danger of collision, put her engines at full speed astern and ported. The N., after stopping her engines, waited two minutes before putting her engines at half speed ahead and two minutes more before putting her engines at full speed ahead. The vessels collided, the N. and the S. both of them making sternway at the time. Held that the N. was in fault and the S. not in fault.
The S. was justified in assuming that the N. would pursue her customary course, and took timely measures to avert a collision.
The statutory steering and sailing rules had little application in the case, and it was rather one of "special circumstances."
In admiralty. The case is stated in the opinion.