NEW YORK (Dec. 29)
A $2,000,000 claim for damages will be filed within a few days by Zim Lines against the owners of the Norwegian tanker Stolt Dagali as a result of the collision between the Zim-owned liner Shalom and the Norwegian tanker on Thanksgiving Day off a fog-bound New Jersey coast, it was learned today following an exchange of conflicting statements during the last two days between the owners of the two ships.
A statement blaming the Stolt Dagali as the sole cause for the crash was made yesterday by Eugene P. Gilligan, an admiralty lawyer, in a report for the Zim Lines. Leiv A. Arntzen, president of the Scandinavian Marine Claims Office, Inc., speaking for John P. Pedersen and Company, owners of the Stolt Dagali, issued a statement today in reply to the report by Mr. Gilligan.
Mr. Gilligan charged that the Stolt Dagali was traveling at “immoderate” speed through sudden fog, failed to heed a fog signal from the Shalom, and altered course in violation of international navigation rules. He also asserted that the Shalom’s radar was scanned regularly and that when fog suddenly enveloped the liner, Capt. Avner Freudenberg reduced speed and ordered fog signals. When a fog signal was heard by the Shalom, the report continued, the Shalom’s engines were stopped.
The report also denied that Capt. Freudenberg had sent out an erroneous position signal 15 miles off his actual position immediately after the collision. The report asserted that if the tanker had not altered position, the two ships would not have collided.
Mr. Arntzen, in his reply for the tanker’s owners, called the Gilligan report “patently untrue” and asserted that the statement that the Shalom met fog only 90 seconds before the crash was “a futile attempt to justify the Shalom’s admitted speed of more than 20 knots in dense fog.” He asserted that the tanker had been moving at “dead slow ahead” for more than 20 minutes before the crash and that its engines had been shut off as soon as the Shalom’s fog signals were heard. He said that the tanker was “practically dead in the water when the Shalom, at top speed, knifed into her and cut her in two.”