The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Alpha (Tug), collision, 13 Sep 1893

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      Judge Coxe's Decision in the Case of the Wenona, Grace Danforth, Craig and Alpha.
Clerk Dermain of the United States District Court yesterday received from Judge Coxe a decision in an admiralty case which will be remembered. On the morning of Sept. 13, 1893. the barge Wenona was being towed by the tug Grace Danforth down the Blackwell Canal, bound on a voyage up the lakes.The Wenona was partly loaded. The Danforth is a large and powerful harbor tug about 75 feet long and 17 feet beam.
While the Danforth and Wenona were proceeding down the canal, bound out, the Craig, in tow of the Alpha, was coming up the Buffalo river, bound in, It being her intention to turn into and proceed up the Blackwell canal. The Craig is a large and powerful propeller 288 feet in length and 42 feet beam. She was loaded. The Alpha is about the same slze and capacity as the Danforth.
      The Watson elevator is located at the junction of the Buffalo river and the Blackwell canal. There is at this point a shoal of soft mud extending out several feet from the elevator dock.
As the tugs approached the junction they gave the proper signals. In attempting to turn into the canal the Craig ran upon the shoal and came to a standstill with her bow about 10 feet from the elevator dock. The Danforth passed the stern of the Craig in safety. When near the propeller ARMOUR, which was lying at the U. L. & W. coal docks on the opposite side of the river, the Danforth starboarded and headed out intoLake Erie. The effect of this manuever was to head the Winona in the same direction and as she passed the stern of the Craig a collision occurred, the starboard quarter of the Craig striking the Wennona about 45 feet from her stern, breaking 30 of her stanchions and inficting a long wound upon her starboard side.
The Libelants and the Danforth maintain that the Craig and the Alpha are solely responsible for the accident. The Craig and the Alpha insist that while the Craig was lying motionless with her bow embedded in the mud the Danforth approached at a dangerous rate of speed. In short, each of the four vessels is charged with some fault which produced or contributed to produce the collislon.
The accusations against the Alpha and the Wenona are dismissed in the decision as neither was guilty of a fault which contributed in any way to the accident. Judge Coxe, after reviewing the facts, says: "The libelant is entitled to a decree against the Craig and the Danforth, a moiety of the entire damages, interest and costs charged against each.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Thursday, March 14, 1895

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Reason: collision
Lives: nil
Remarks: Uninjured
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Alpha (Tug), collision, 13 Sep 1893