ATLANTIC WAS TO BLAME
DECISION OF GREAT IMPORTANCE MADE BY JUDGE SWAN
It Relates to the Sinking of the Boyce in the St. Clair River.
Bay City, Mich., November 10. - (Special) - Judge Swan, of the United States Court, has rendered a decision of great importance to mariners and owners of vessel property. It was in the case of the propeller Atlantic against the steambarge Isabella J. Boyce. It seems that on May 18, 1892, the steambarge Boyce was bound down the St. Clair River with three barges in tow, and when opposite Marine City, on the Canadian side, gave the customary signal that she intended to round against the current and make a landing at Marine City for the purpose of taking on coal at the docks one mile ahead. The Atlantic was them a mile or more astern. She was bound down alone. Shortly after sounding the signal, the Boyce gave one short blast, the Atlantic then being one half mile astern. This was not answered by the Atlantic. The Boyce was well on the Canadian shore, and the Atlantic in midstream. The latter did not change her course until abreast of the first tow-barge, or check her speed until within two lengths of the Boyce. Then it was too late, and the collision occurred.
Judge Swan holds that it was the duty of the Atlantic under the conditions stated to keep out of the way of the Boyce, and he also held that it was the duty of the Atlantic to notify the Boyce that she intended to pass the Boyce, and such omission was clearly a factor in the collision.
At about the same hour as Judge Swan gave the decision, a collision similar to the foregoing happened at about the same place, the steam barge S. C. Baldwin being sunk by the Iron King under the same circumstances.