The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919. Page: 46
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461'" 56'FEDERAL EORiR'I#
sittialas they had been doing for sonie time prior to the collision; and
that the' lights of the' schooner were aeen half a mile off before the
collision, are facts admitted: as is tlso that the steamship, upon ob-
serving the light of 'the sthobner, which was then on the port tack
half a mile away, heading off.hdre, gave the appropriate danger signal,
but too late to avert the collision. '
There is some difference it ihe evidence, as to the speed at which
the vessels were proceeding, the libelant's' testimony being that
the Ontario was making frbm; 12 to 14 knots an hour, whereas
the steamship admits she was 'm king 9 to 10 knots. The schooner
claims to have been making J 'kobts, 'whereas the steamship says
she was making perhaps about 7 kndts at the time'of the collision.
There is a sharp conflict in the testimony as to what signal the
schooner was giving shortly before the collision, as indicating the tack
she was on. The steamship insists that the schooner only sounded one
blast of its horn, indicating that it was going to the north or north-
eastward on the starboard tack, ,whereas it was actually on the port
tack, and heading to the south or southeastward, and that that fault
of navigation by the schooner was the sole cduse of the collision. The
steamship's owners admit that, if the schooner was giving the appro-
priate port tack signal of two blasts, the steamship is liable for the
Which signal was being given by the schooner presents a clear issue
of fact, which must be determined by the court in the light of all
the facts and circumstances of the case, and the reasonable inferences
to be drawn from the testimony. The' evidence of the officers and
crews of each vessel examined supports the contentions of their re-
spective ships. The steamship also examined two of her passengers,
the evidence of one of whom strongly sustains her contention as to
the signals heard by the steamship's witnesses. That the schooner was
actually on the port tack, as it had been for some hours previously,
is not disputed, and those on board' of her, including her master,
wheelsman, and lookout, positively support the schooner's contention
that she was properly sounding two blasts of her horn, as claimed by
her, as do all the witnesses examined in her behalf.
 The case turns, as far as this testimony is concerned, upon
whether the court will accept their version, or that of the witnesses,
including the passengers, for the Ontario, who were approximately a
mile away, as to what they heard. Testimony of witnesses from a ship
as to what signals were actually sounded, cannot -be lightly ignored
because some one from another ship, some distance off, claims to have
heard different signals. Especially is this true, as here, where the
signals claimed to have been sounded are those which should have been
given upon the tack on which the vessel then was. To have given
signals indicating the vessel was proceeding in the direction opposite
from the one she was actually on would have been gross fault and crim-
inal negligence, involving the loss of the ship and the lives of all on
The court cannot see its way clear to disregard this testimony, and
accept that of witnesses from the Ontario, including the passenger,
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919., legislative document, 1919; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38827/m1/60/: accessed February 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.