News from 1875 Belgic I responsible for sinking a barge

Mark Baber

Dec 29, 2000
The Times, 17 November 1875

The Times, 17 November 1875

(Before Sir R J. PHILLIMORE)
This was an appeal from the City of London Court. On the afternoon of the
25th of November last, the Belgic---a screw steamer of the White Star Line,
of more than 2,500 tons---was leaving the Victoria Docks stern first, about
an hour before high water, having a qualified Trinity pilot on board and
laden with cargo for New York, when, notwithstanding the assistance of a tug
attached on her starboard quarter, she came in contact with and sunk the
Kertch, a dumb barge, moored near the northern entrance of the docks. The
Thames Ironworks Company, the owners of the barge, instituted a cause of
damage against the Belgic in the City of London Court, and the Deputy-Judge
having held that the Belgic was alone to blame for the collision, the owners
of the Belgic appealed to this Court.

At the hearing of the appeal on the 8th inst., Mr. BUTT, Q.C., Mr. GAINSFORD
BRUCE, and Mr. J. P. ASPINALL appeared for the appellants, and contended
that the Kertch had been moored in an improper place, and the collision was
either inevitable or an accident, for which the owner of the Belgic was not
responsible, as it had been caused either by the order of the dockmaster of
the Victoria or of the pilot who was on board by compulsion of law.

Mr. R. E. Webster and Mr. F. W. Raikes appeared for the respondents.

His LORDSHIP, being of opinion that the employment of the tug assisting the
Belgic had brought about the collision, and that such employment had not
been compulsory on the owner of the Belgic, but the voluntary act of her
master, dismissed the appeal with costs.


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