NEW YORK (Jan. 21)
Damages of $2,350,000 were sought today by owners of the Israeli liner, the Shalom, from the owners of the Norwegian tanker, the Stolt Dagali, as the aftermath of a Thanksgiving Day collision last year between the two ships off a log-shrouded New Jersey coast.
The suit was filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Zim Israel Navigation Company, Ltd., against the A/S Ocean of Oslo. The “libel and complaint” suit charged that the tanker was under “incompetent personnel” when the $20,000,000 Shalom hit it and sliced it in half, with the loss of the lives of 19 of the tanker crew members, The Shalom had been bound for a Caribbean cruise at the time. After the crash, the liner returned to New York portunder its own power. The stern section of the tanker sank soon after the crash. The bow section, with 24 survivors, was towed to a New York shipyard.
The Shalom owners asked $1,900,000 for repair of the liner and loss of earnings while it was being repaired and $450,000 to meet claims of representatives of the tanker crew members who lost their lives. The Israeli firm had agreed to pay $450,000 to survivors of the lost crewmen under an agreement made with the tanker’s owners before the lawsuit was filed.
The suit denied that the liner crew was at fault. It listed a series of charges against the tanker command, asserting that the tanker was unseaworthy and directed by incompetent personnel and that the tanker command failed to maintain a proper lookout while proceeding at “immoderate and excessive speed” in the fog.
The suit also charged that the Stelt Dagali failed to stop engines when fog signals from the Shalom were sounded and failed to use information shown on its radar screen; that the tanker altered course “negligently” so as to “bring herself across what should have been known to be the Shalom course”; and that the tanker’s officers did not navigate “with the caution required by the circum stances and instead conducted her navigation in a reckless and careless manner.” The tanker owners have 20 days to reply.