THE JOHN L. HASBROUCK, 93 U. S. 405 (1876)

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U.S. Supreme Court

The John L. Hasbrouck, 93 U.S. 405 (1876)

The John L. Hasbrouck

93 U.S. 405


1. The rule requiring a sailing vessel to keep her course when approaching a steamer in such direction as to involve risk of collision does not forbid such necessary variations in her course as will enable her to avoid immediate danger arising from natural obstructions to navigation.

2. Where well known usage has sanctioned one course for a steamer ascending, and another for a sailing vessel descending, a river, the vessel, if required by natural obstructions to navigation to change her course, is, after passing them, bound to resume it. Failing to do so, and continuing her course directly into that which an approaching steamer is properly navigating, she is not entitled to recover for a loss occasioned by a collision, which the steamer endeavored to prevent, by adopting the only means in her power.

This was a libel by the owners of the sloop Venus against the steam propeller John L. Hasbrouck, to recover damages for the sinking of the sloop by a collision with the propeller on the Hudson River near West Point on the night of Nov. 27, 1869. The district court held that the collision was caused by the sole fault of the Venus, and entered a decree dismissing the libel; which decree having been affirmed by the circuit court, the libellant brought the case here.

Page 93 U. S. 406

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