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U.S. Supreme Court

Cushing v. Owners of Ship John Fraser, 62 U.S. 21 How. 184 184 (1858)

Cushing v. Owners of Ship John Fraser

62 U.S. (21 How.) 184


An ordinance of the city authorities of Charleston prescribing where a vessel may lie in the harbor, how long she may remain there, what light she must show at night, and making other similar regulations, is not in conflict with any law of Congress regulating commerce or with the general admiralty jurisdiction conferred on the courts of the United States. It is therefore valid.

A vessel at anchor is bound to show such a light as is required by the local regulations.

Where a vessel, being towed into port by a steam tug, came into collision with a vessel at anchor, and the steam tug and vessel at anchor were both in fault, the loss must be equally divided between them, provided the ship in tow was thrown against the vessel at anchor without any fault or negligence on the part of the vessel in tow.

This was a case of collision in the port of Charleston under the circumstances particularly set forth in the opinion of the Court.

The James Gray was at anchor, and the John Fraser was being towed into the harbor by the steamer General Clinch when a collision ensued between the John Fraser and the James Gray. The owners of the latter libeled both the two chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 62 U. S. 185

other vessels. The district court dismissed the libel against the steamer, but decreed for the libellants against the John Fraser, $3,902.67, being the amount paid for repairs to the James Gray and also a sum for demurrage.

The case was carried up to the circuit court, where additional evidence was taken, and the judge reversed so much of the decree of the district court as condemned the ship John Fraser in damages, and affirmed the judgment in favor of the steamer. The libel was therefore dismissed, with costs. An appeal brought the case up to this Court.

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