The opinion of the court was delivered by: BEEKS
The captioned actions arise out of the same casualty and were consolidated for trial and all other purposes. The Court has jurisdiction over both actions under 28 U.S.C. § 1333.
In Number 300 the partnership Wilh. Wilhelmsen, composed of Dampskibsaktieselskabet Den Norske Afrika og Australieline, Wilhelmsens Dampskibsaktieselskab A/S Tonsberg, A/S Tankfart I, A/S Tankfart IV, A/S Tankfart V, and A/S Tankfart VI (Wilhelmsen), owner of M/S TROJA and A/S Kristian Jebsens Rederi (Jebsens), time charterer of TROJA, brought action against Intalco Aluminum Corporation (Intalco), lessee of a dock, including the crane thereon, at Ferndale, Washington, used by Intalco for the discharge of bulk alumina, and Bellingham Stevedoring Company (Bellingham), who supplied the operator of the crane pursuant to a stevedoring contract with Intalco, for damage sustained when the crane boom fell upon TROJA. McDowell-Wellman & Co. (McDowell), who designed, manufactured and supervised the installation of the crane on Intalco premises, was impleaded as a third party defendant.
In Number 308, American Metal Climax, Inc. (American Metal), voyage sub-charterer of TROJA, brought action against Bellingham for damage sustained when the crane boom fell upon TROJA. Intalco was impleaded as a third party defendant.
Intalco cross-claimed against Bellingham and McDowell to recover crane repair costs.
Bellingham claims indemnity from Intalco and/or McDowell for whatever damages may be allowed against Bellingham.
McDowell claims indemnity from Bellingham for whatever damage Intalco and/or American Metal may recover against McDowell.
On December 1, 1966 TROJA was discharging bulk alumina while moored to Intalco's dock. The discharge of the alumina was being accomplished by the use of Intalco's dock crane which was being operated by Bellingham under a stevedoring contract with Intalco. At 1705
hours TROJA's number two hatch was damaged when the crane boom fell upon TROJA.
The crane operator, an employee of Bellingham, had topped the crane boom and left the crane tower at 1650.
The operator normally would have left the crane in the horizontal position so the next shift could immediately begin work, but because of the high wind condition (gusts up to 50 m.p.h.) he decided that it would be safer if the crane was raised to the vertical position. While on his way off the pier the operator received word the boom had fallen upon TROJA. No one else had operated the crane in the interim.
The Intalco crane required a skilled operator. Certain specific steps were to be followed by him when topping the boom:
(1) Put the bucket and the bucket carriage into the hopper;
(2) Slack the hoist and the close cables ...