RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
Pursuant to Sixth Circuit Rule 206
ELECTRONIC CITATION: 2002 FED App. 0307P (6th
File Name: 02a0307p.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
|Grosse Ile Bridge Company,
American Steamship Company,
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit.
No. 92-76556--Denise Page Hood, District Judge.
Argued: August 9, 2002
Decided and Filed: September 9, 2002
Before: KEITH, MOORE, and GILMAN, Circuit
ARGUED: Robert T. Coniam, RAY, ROBINSON,
CARLE & DAVIES, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant. Thomas W. Emery, GARAN,
LUCOW, MILLER, P.C., Detroit, Michigan, for Appellee. ON BRIEF:
Robert T. Coniam, William D. Carle, III, RAY, ROBINSON, CARLE & DAVIES,
Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant. Thomas W. Emery, David M. Shafer, GARAN,
LUCOW, MILLER, P.C., Detroit, Michigan, for Appellee.
RONALD LEE GILMAN,
Circuit Judge. On September 6, 1992, the M/V H. Lee White, a 700-foot cargo
freighter carrying 67 million pounds of iron ore, struck the Grosse Ile
Toll Bridge, a pivot-swinging drawbridge on the Trenton Channel of the
Detroit River. The Grosse Ile Bridge Company filed suit against the American
Steamship Company, which owns the M/V White, seeking to recover damages
to the bridge on the basis that the collision was caused by the M/V White's
negligence. Following a bench trial, the district court found that the
M/V White bore no responsibility for the accident, and therefore denied
recovery. Grosse Ile now concedes that it was at fault for not timely swinging
the bridge open, but argues on appeal that the M/V White was also partly
at fault for failing to timely stop when it had the opportunity to do so.
For the reasons set forth below, we REVERSE the judgment of the
district court and REMAND the case for further proceedings consistent
with this opinion.
The Grosse Ile Toll
Bridge is a privately owned bridge over the Detroit River that opened to
traffic in 1913. It has a swing span in its center section that pivots
open. The swing span is 305 feet long and takes approximately one and a
half minutes to completely open after the bridgetender activates the pivot
mechanism. Bracketing the swing section on both sides are fixed spans that
are 180 feet in length. When the swing span is open, two 125-foot "draws"
are created on either side of the bridge's pivot point. The bridge thus
presents a tight passage for a ship such as the M/V White, which is 78
On September 6, 1992,
which was a clear, sunny day, the M/V White was proceeding south on the
Trenton Channel of the Detroit River toward its destination beyond the
Grosse Ile Toll Bridge. The bridge operators knew that the M/V White was
coming, because the ship had radioed notice to the operators the day before.
Bridgetenders Donald Ryan and John Tonkovich testified that they expected
the ship to arrive shortly after they came on duty at 2:00 p.m. that day.
Ryan was posted in
the toll booth with a walkie-talkie. His duties involved taking tolls from
passing traffic and lowering the traffic gates to clear the bridge of vehicles
whenever the bridge needed to be opened for river traffic. Tonkovich was
stationed in the office, which has a window looking northward onto the
Trenton Channel. As the bridgetender manning the office, Tonkovich was
responsible for monitoring radio communications from the Coast Guard and
responding to requests to open the bridge by vessels on the channel. He
was also charged with operating the mechanism for opening the bridge, which
is situated on top of the office and accessed by ladder.
More than a mile
above the bridge, the M/V White picked up two tugboats to help control
the ship's lateral movement as it passed through one of the bridge's draws.
Richard Sibbersen, captain of the tugboat that attached itself to the M/V
White's bow, testified that he informed one of the bridgetenders over the
radio that the ship and its tugboats would be at the bridge in the next
10 to 15 minutes. Tonkovich, the bridgetender who received the call, acknowledged
the information by saying, according to Captain Sibbersen, that "they would
be looking for us."
After the two tugboats
began moving down the river at between five and seven miles per hour, Captain
Sibbersen again called the bridge by radio. He said: "We're on our way
down, we'll be down there in about five minutes or so," to which Tonkovich
responded: "Fine. We see you. We'll be ready for you." Captain Sibbersen
radioed a second time to tell the bridgetenders that he would be giving
a whistle signal for the bridge to open in just a couple of minutes, and
to ask them if they would be ready to open the bridge. Tonkovich replied:
"Fine, okay." The whistle signal to open the bridge was given by Captain
Sibbersen on his tugboat's whistle just after the M/V White reached Red
Buoy 28, the point in the channel where it is customary to give the signal
when towing a ship. But the bridge did not respond, so Captain Sibbersen
blew a second open-bridge signal on his tugboat's whistle. He also radioed
Tonkovich for a third time, but received no reply.
Despite these radio
calls and whistle signals, Captain Sibbersen saw vehicular traffic still
moving on the toll bridge. So did Richard Gasco, the lookout on the bow
of the M/V White, as the ship approached Green Buoy 25 and Red Buoy 26.
These buoys, located approximately 2,000 feet above the bridge, are effectively
the point of no return for a ship the size of the M/V White. The custom
and practice of the bridge was to begin opening the pivotal span for a
ship no later than Red Buoy 28, which is 3,000 feet north of Buoys 25 and
Upon reaching the
point of no return, Captain Sibbersen blew the danger signal to the bridge
on his tugboat's whistle. John Gapczynski, captain of the M/V White, also
blew the danger signal, which he repeated as the ship passed the buoys.
These danger signals--each one consisting of five short whistle blasts--were
heard by witnesses on the shore. In addition to all the whistles, Michael
Mehall, a pleasure boater who was next to the bridge and sitting on the
top of his boat at the elevation of the bridgetender's office about 12
feet above the water, yelled to Tonkovich that the ship was approaching
the bridge. But the bridge remained closed. Allen Wilson, another pleasure
boater in the vicinity, testified that the bridge's yellow light, a signal
that the bridge is opening, was flashing as the ship's bow passed Green
Buoy 25 and Red Buoy 26.
But neither the M/V
White nor the tugboats saw the light or any other sign that the bridge
was about to open, and the district court made no finding as to whether
the yellow light was in fact on or off. Gasco, the lookout, testified that
he was aware that a flashing yellow light is one method that a bridge can
use to signal that it is about to open, but said that he did not specifically
look for such a light on the day of the accident because it would have
been difficult to see in sunny conditions. Instead, he focused on other
signs that the bridge was opening, such as the traffic on the bridge.
Soon after the ship
passed the point of no return, Gasco saw a car hurriedly back away from
the center section of the bridge. Interpreting this as a sign that the
bridge was about to open, Gasco told Captain Gapczynski that the vehicular
traffic had finally cleared away. But then Gasco saw two more vehicles
drive onto the center section. Hearing this, Captain Gapczynski decided
that he had to stop the M/V White in order to avoid a collision. In attempting
to do so, Captain Gapczynski first radioed to the tugboats that he was
going to back down the M/V White's engine, even though this would cause
the bow of the freighter to swing to the port side. He told Captain Sibbersen
to move his tugboat from the bow to the starboard flank of the ship in
order to partially counteract the movement to port. The M/V White's engine
was then put into reverse, causing the bow to veer to port and thus lose
alignment with the planned draw through the open bridge.
Sometime after these
measures were taken, the bridge finally began to open. When the M/V White
was just 200 to 300 feet from the bridge, the ship dropped its 13,000-pound
port-bow anchor. The M/V White had come to an almost complete stop when
it reached the bridge, but its bow tapped the stationary span on the east
side of the bridge. Because of the huge momentum of a ship laden with 67
million pounds of iron ore, this slight tap was enough to knock the entire
180-foot span into the water. Fortunately, no one was injured. The bridge,
as it turned out, had fully opened by the time the ship hit the stationary
Why the bridge failed
to timely open is less than clear. Tonkovich testified that he simply thought
he had more time to open the bridge than he did, and that he did not hear
the ship's second danger signal. Ryan offered no justification. There was
testimony from one of the off-duty bridgetenders, however, that Ryan appeared
to have been drinking alcohol when he reported for duty at 2:00 p.m. on
the date of the accident.
Grosse Ile sued American
Steamship to recover damages to the bridge. After a seven-week bench trial,
the district court found that the bridgetenders had failed to timely open
the bridge for the M/V White despite receiving multiple notices of the
ship's approach. The district court concluded that Grosse Ile's "actions
and lack of action in this matter caused the [co]llision," and that the
M/V White bore no responsibility for the accident. Grosse Ile then filed
this timely appeal.
A.Standard of review
The district court's
apportionment of fault is subject to review under the clearly erroneous
standard. In re Cleveland Tankers, Inc., 67 F.3d 1200, 1205
(6th Cir. 1995) (affirming the district court's apportionment of fault
in an admiralty case using the clearly erroneous standard); Todd Shipyards
Corp. v. Turbine Serv., Inc., 674 F.2d 401, 405 (5th Cir. 1982) (holding
that, in an admiralty case, "questions concerning . . . the existence of
negligence and proximate causation are treated as factual issues and are
thus subject to the clearly erroneous standard"). A finding "is clearly
erroneous where, although there is evidence to support that finding, the
reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm
conviction that a mistake has been committed." Kalamazoo River Study
Group v. Rockwell Intern. Corp., 274 F.3d 1043, 1047 (6th Cir. 2002)
(internal quotation marks omitted).
B.The district court's findings
bridgetender Ryan had been drinking alcohol
Grosse Ile contends
that the district court erred in finding that bridgetender Ryan had been
drinking on the day of the accident, and that this finding "is extremely
important, because it may explain otherwise unexplainable conclusions the
Court reached about the actions of the vessel, and may have otherwise tainted
her opinion." The following passage in the district court's opinion discusses
Ryan's alleged drinking:
Ryan was said to have received alcoholic
beverages as gifts while tending the bridge. Gerald Lakos, an off duty
bridgetender, also testified that Ryan had been drinking that day. These
facts do not indicate that the bridgetenders were not generally competent
to operate the bridge. The Court finds that the bridgetenders were generally
competent to operate the bridge. However, on September 6, 1992, neither
bridgetender exhibited this general competence in opening the bridge.
Although the district
court's opinion refers to Lakos's testimony in the above passage, it is
not clear that the district court found as a matter of fact that Ryan had
been drinking on the day of the accident. Even if the district court is
presumed to have made such a finding, however, we conclude that the finding
was sufficiently supported by the record as not to be clearly erroneous.
Lakos's testimony had several indicia of credibility. First, Lakos knew
Ryan personally and was thus likely to be able to detect changes in his
demeanor. Second, Lakos was one of the bridgetenders on the shift that
ended just before Ryan came on duty at 2:00 p.m. on the day of the accident.
Finally, Lakos testified that when he saw and spoke to Ryan at the shift
change, Ryan appeared to have been drinking because his speech was slurred
and he had a brown paper bag with him. Lakos therefore saw Ryan first hand,
and made specific observations very near in time to the 2:15 p.m. collision.
On the other hand,
it was common for bridgetenders to receive gifts of alcohol without opening
the gifts, and Ryan's slurred speech could have resulted from chewing gum.
This contrary evidence is not so overwhelming, however, as to leave us
with a definite and firm conviction that a finding that Ryan had been drinking
when he reported for duty on the date of the accident would be clearly
conclusion that the district court allegedly drew from the fact that Ryan
had been drinking--that he exhibited incompetence in timely opening the
bridge on the day of the accident--is fully supported by other uncontested
facts in the record. This is made clear in the portion of the district
court's opinion that immediately follows the passage quoted above:
Instead, the bridgetenders delayed
the opening of the bridge, continued to allow vehicles onto the bridge
and failed to respond to the vessel after the danger signals were given.
The Court finds that on September 6, 1992, the Grosse Ile bridge was tended
by competent and well-trained bridgetenders. However, these bridgetenders
failed to competently perform their duties on the date in question.
The matter of whether Ryan had been drinking
is thus superfluous to the district court's ultimate finding that the Grosse
Ile bridgetenders failed to competently perform their duties that day.
the M/V White posted a proper lookout
Grosse Ile also contends
that the district court erred in determining that the M/V White posted
a proper lookout. By statute,
[e]very vessel shall at all times
maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available
means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as
to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.
33 U.S.C § 2005. A lookout must be a person
of suitable experience and vigilance, stationed at a place where the risk
of the danger of collision may be readily perceived. See Bunge Corp.
v. M/V Furness Bridge, 558 F.2d 790, 800 (5th Cir. 1977) (finding that
the defendant vessel had failed to post a proper lookout because, although
well-positioned on the bow and apparently capable of observing the important
signs of danger, the lookouts were not adequately vigilant in executing
their duties prior to the collision between the vessel and a wharf).
If the M/V White
failed to post a proper lookout in violation of this statute, then the
rule of The Pennsylvania, 86 U.S. 125 (1873), would govern the issue
of liability. The Supreme Court held in The Pennsylvania that where
a vessel at the time of a collision is in violation of a statutory or regulatory
rule intended to prevent such a collision, the violation is presumed to
be at least a contributory cause of the accident. Id. at 136. To
rebut this presumption, the vessel in violation of a rule must prove not
only that the violation was not in fact the cause of the accident, but
that the violation could not have been a cause of the accident.
In the present case,
the lookout on the M/V White as it approached the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge
was Richard Gasco, the ship's second mate. Gasco was positioned on the
bow, from which he communicated directly with Captain Gapczynski via radio.
A licensed pilot, Gasco had gone through the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge numerous
times during his 13 years as a seaman. Gasco was therefore well-credentialed
to serve as the M/V White's lookout, and he was positioned properly to
view the bridge as the ship drew near.
But Grosse Ile argues
that Gasco was nevertheless an improper lookout because he "did not know
the response signal for which he should be looking." According to Grosse
Ile, Gasco should have been looking for the bridge's flashing yellow light,
which is one of the methods that the Coast Guard has approved for a drawbridge
to signal that it is preparing to open. 33 C.F.R. § 117.15(c)(2)(iii).
contrary to Grosse Ile's characterization of his statements, that he was
aware that a flashing yellow light may be used by a bridge to signal that
it is opening, and that if he had seen such a light, he would have reported
it. But Gasco explained that he does not specifically look for flashing
yellow lights during the daylight hours because they are too difficult
to see at such times. Rather, he looks for other signs that a bridge is
preparing to open, such as the lowering of the gates that prevent vehicles
from entering the swing span and the cessation of traffic flow across the
bridge. The question therefore becomes whether Gasco's decision not to
look specifically for the yellow light rendered him an improper lookout.
During the course
of the trial, the district judge personally viewed the opening of the pivotal
span from the pilothouse of a ship similar to the M/V White as it approached
the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge. The judge found that
on a clear, sunny day not unlike
the day of the [co]llision, . . . the yellow signal light while visible
is not very visible to the naked eye during sunny daylight hours. However,
the activity on the bridge is very visible from the pilothouse of the vessel
and by inference would be more visible from the bow which is approximately
600 feet forward of the pilothouse.
There is no dispute
that Gasco competently observed and accurately reported the actions of
the gates and traffic on the bridge, as well as the nonopening status of
the bridge itself, and that all of these indicators pointed to the bridge
not opening on time. Furthermore, we are not in a position to second-guess
the district court's first-hand corroboration of Gasco's statement about
the low visibility of the yellow flashing light in the daytime. Gasco's
decision to focus on the more easily observed signs of activity on the
bridge rather than search for a flashing yellow light was therefore a judgment
call that a vigilant, competent lookout could reasonably have made under
the circumstances. We therefore conclude that the district court did not
err in finding Gasco to have been a proper lookout.
In addition, even
if Gasco's failure to look for the flashing yellow light had rendered him
an improper lookout, the M/V White could meet its burden to rebut the presumption
of fault under the rule of The Pennsylvania. This is because Gasco
observed cars entering the swing span after the M/V White had passed the
point of no return. Assuming that the yellow light was in fact flashing
at that time, and that Gasco had seen it, the fact that cars were still
driving across the bridge would have led the M/V White to reasonably believe
that the yellow light was giving false information. The failure to see
the yellow light therefore could not have been a cause of the collision,
because Captain Gapczynski's decision to stop short of the bridge would
not have changed.
the M/V White was at fault in proceeding toward the bridge
Grosse Ile further argues
that the district court erred in not attributing fault to the M/V White
based on its violation of the following Coast Guard regulation:
[T]he operator of each vessel requesting
a drawbridge to open shall signal the drawtender and the drawtender shall
acknowledge that signal. The signal shall be repeated until acknowledged
in some manner by the drawtender before proceeding.
33 C.F.R. § 117.15(a)(1). Grosse Ile contends
that the M/V White proceeded toward the bridge in the absence of a responsive
signal, thus violating this regulation and causing the collision.
But a well-established
rule of admiralty law holds that a ship that gives a timely signal to open
a bridge is entitled to assume that the bridge will be promptly opened
for the ship's passage. The "invitation to proceed" rule has been applied
in numerous cases in this and other circuits. City of Cleveland v. McIver,
109 F.2d 69, 72 (6th Cir. 1940) (holding that the vessel was not liable
for proceeding toward the drawbridge, because the bridge's failure to signal
that it was unable to open constituted an invitation to proceed); Liability
in Admiralty for Collision between Vessel and Drawbridge Structure,134
A.L.R. Fed. 537, 551-52 (1996) ("Because the right of vessels to use navigable
waters is paramount, a vessel that signals properly for passage through
a drawbridge has a right to assume the bridge will timely be opened for
it, and to approach the bridge on that basis."); cf. Michigan Bell Tel.
Co. v. Copper Range R.R. Co., 355 F.2d 678, 683 (6th Cir. 1966) (holding
the defendant vessel had not been invited to proceed, and was therefore
partly liable for the collision, because it approached the bridge without
prior communication, and the bridge's warning lights were visible as signals
that the bridge was unable to open).
An often-quoted statement
of the invitation-to-proceed rule is that
[a] vessel, having given proper signal
to open the bridge and prudently proceeding under slow speed, has, in the
absence of proper warning, the right to assume that the bridge will be
timely opened for passage. She is not bound to heave to until the bridge
has been swung or raised and locked, and to critically examine the situation
before proceeding, but may carefully proceed at slow speed upon the assumption
that the bridge will open in response to the signal, and may so proceed
until such time as it appears by proper warning, or in reasonable view
of the situation, that the bridge will not be opened, when it becomes the
duty of the vessel, if possible, to stop, and, if necessary, to go astern.
Clement v. Metro. W. Side Elevated Ry. Co.,
123 F. 271, 273 (7th Cir. 1903) (internal citations omitted).
The district court
found that the M/V White had been invited to proceed because the bridge
offered assurance in four radio conversations, three of them just minutes
before the ship arrived, that it was prepared to open. Furthermore, the
bridge specifically acknowledged that it saw the ship approaching, and
gave no signal that it would not timely open. We are of the opinion that
these exchanges constituted compliance with the Coast Guard regulation
relied upon by Grosse Ile. As a result, we have no need to resolve the
apparent contradiction between the Coast Guard regulation and the invitation-to-proceed
doctrine set forth above. We therefore conclude that (1) the district court's
finding that the M/V White had been invited to proceed was not clearly
erroneous, and (2) the district court properly found that as a result of
having been invited to proceed, the M/V White's progress toward the bridge
did not constitute contributory negligence.
the M/V White was negligent in failing to timely drop its anchors
Grosse Ile next contends
that the district court erred in concluding that Captain Gapczynski was
not negligent in failing to timely drop the M/V White's stern or port-bow
anchors. A ship's captain, in the navigation of his or her vessel, is held
to the standard "of such reasonable care and maritime skill as prudent
navigators employ for the performance of similar service." Exxon v.
Sofec, Inc., 54 F.3d 570, 577 (9th Cir. 1995) (internal quotation
marks omitted). Failing to timely drop an anchor can constitute negligence.
Complaint of American Export Lines, Inc., 620 F. Supp. 490, 500
(S.D.N.Y. 1985) (holding that the "[f]ailure to release the starboard anchor
until the moment of collision was at least a factor that contributed to
the casualty and it constituted negligence . . .").
had three 13,000-pound anchors available for immediate use: one on either
side of the bow, and one on the stern. Grosse Ile does not contest the
district court's finding that Captain Gapczynski acted reasonably in not
dropping the starboard-bow anchor, because doing so might have endangered
the bow tugboat. Given the testimony of Captain Gapczynski and the two
tugboat captains that dropping the stern anchor would have endangered the
crew of the stern tugboat and possibly entangled the M/V White's propeller,
we conclude that the district court's finding of reasonableness in not
dropping the stern anchor was also free of error.
delay in dropping the port-bow anchor until the ship was only 200 to 300
feet from the bridge, however, is another matter. The M/V White does not
dispute the bridge's claim that dropping the port-bow anchor earlier would
have caused the ship to stop short of the bridge. Yet Captain Gapczynski's
only explanation for his delay in dropping the port-bow anchor was that
the M/V White "couldn't go through that draw dragging an anchor." That
decision was not reasonable, however, because it is completely inconsistent
with Captain Gapczynski's strategic decision to stop the ship short of
When the M/V White
was approximately 2,000 feet from the bridge, Captain Gapczynski reversed
the engine, knowing that this action would cause the ship to veer to port
and lose alignment with the draw. After the ship lost alignment, it became
impracticable for the ship to proceed uninterrupted through the draw, given
the nearly perfect angle required to steer a 700-foot long, 78-foot wide
ship through a 125-foot opening. Stopping the ship effectively became the
"last clear chance" to avoid the collision from that point forward, and
it was therefore incumbent upon Captain Gapczynski to do everything he
could to stop the ship without hitting the bridge or endangering his crew.
Clement v. Metro. W. Side Elevated Ry. Co., 123 F. 271, 273 (7th
He did not do so
because, at the same time that he was trying to stop the ship, he delayed
dropping the port-bow anchor in the unrealistic hope that the ship could
nevertheless proceed through the draw. But stopping the ship and proceeding
through the draw were mutually exclusive aims, making it unreasonable for
Captain Gapczynski to sacrifice the effort to stop the ship in the faint
hope of somehow still going through the draw. From the moment that Captain
Gapczinski decided to reverse the ship's engine, he knew that his ship
would lose alignment with the bridge's draw, thus making a safe passage
impossible. He was therefore obligated, from that point forward, to maximize
the effort to safely stop the ship short of the bridge. By failing to promptly
drop the port-bow anchor, he "contributed to the casualty." Complaint
of American Export Lines, Inc., 620 F. Supp. at 500.
the district court erred in applying the in extremis doctrine
The M/V White may nevertheless
avoid liability if Captain Gapczynski's delay in dropping the port-bow
anchor was reasonable under the lower standard applicable in a crisis situation.
Under the in extremis doctrine, the decisions of a captain are to
be leniently judged when his or her vessel is put in sudden peril through
no fault of its own. Union Oil Co. of California v. The Tug Mary Malloy,
414 F.2d 669, 673-74 (5th Cir. 1969) (finding that the defendant tanker's
decision to increase its speed to pass the plaintiff vessel did not constitute
negligence, particularly in light of the fact that the decision was made
in an emergency situation arising from the plaintiff vessel's fault in
positioning itself alongside the defendant in the center of the channel
as the two vessels approached a turn that could not be simultaneously negotiated
by both of them). Applying this doctrine, the district court concluded
that Grosse Ile "has not been able to demonstrate that Captain Gapczynski
acted outside the standard of a prudent and reasonable mariner in a crisis
situation." We agree that the in extremis doctrine is relevant to
the case before us, but disagree with the district court's conclusion that
it excuses the Captain's conduct regarding the port-bow anchor.
was indeed presented with an emergency situation through no fault of the
M/V White. The bridge's failure to timely open forced him to make decisions
quickly regarding whether the M/V White should try to stop short of the
bridge or proceed through the draw, and how he would execute that strategy.
His actions are therefore entitled to be viewed under the lenient standard
of the in extremis doctrine. But once Captain Gapczynski decided
to stop short of the bridge, it was unreasonable to delay dropping the
port-bow anchor. The M/V White traveled approximately 1,700 feet from the
time Captain Gapczynski reversed the ship's engine until the anchor was
dropped. At a speed that steadily decreased from six miles per hour, that
distance gave the Captain at least four minutes to consider the steps necessary
to stop the ship. Dropping the port-bow anchor was one of the most obvious
and effective steps that he could have taken to stop the ship short of
the bridge. As a result, we conclude that Captain Gapczynski's decision
to delay the dropping of the anchor constituted negligence even under the
in extremis doctrine.
For all of the reasons
set forth above, we conclude that the district court clearly erred in absolving
the M/V White from all responsibility for the collision. We therefore REVERSE
the judgment of the district court and REMAND the case for the apportionment
of fault and other proceedings consistent with this opinion.