S. S. Israel Had ‘privileged’ Position Prior to Harbor Crash, Pilot Says

Captain Samuel B. Jones, New York harbor pilot, indicated at a United States Coast Guard hearing this afternoon that the S.S. Israel was the “privileged ship” in the situation prior to her collision with the freighter American Press, off Governor’s Island in New York Bay, last Thursday evening.

Captain Jones, a harbor pilot for 25 years, was on the bridge of the Israel when she sailed last Thursday evening for Gibraltar, Piraeus and Haifa. The Israeli luxury liner had aboard 269 passengers and a crew of 146. He told the inquiry that the Israel was heading for the main harbor channel when he first sighted the American Press, about a mile and a-quarter away. The Israel was approaching from the vessel’s right. The International Rules of the Road at Sea state that, when two ships approach at right angles, the one that has the other on its own right or starboard side must change course so as to allow the other to cross ahead of it. In entering or leaving port, ships are required to keep to the right side of the channel.

The hearing is being conducted by Commander Ashton H. Barnes, United States Coast Guard. Captain Arthur R. Biagge, pilot on the American Press, testified earlier in the day.

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