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Collisions ISSUE with HOLDING

G.R. No. L-18957 1. W/N both vessels were to blame – YES


Government of the Phil. Islands vs. Phil. Steamship Co. (Jan. 16, 1923) a. Although the negligence on the part of the mate of the Antipolo preceded the
Street, J. negligence on the part of the mate of Isabel by an appreciable interval of time,
the first vessel cannot on that account be absolved from responsibility.
There was a collision involving 2 vessels. One carried sacks of rice belonging to the i. Indeed, in G. Urrutia & Co. vs. Baco River Plantation Co, this court
Philippine Islands, and the said vessel immediately sank losing its cargo. The Philippine found reason for holding that the responsibility rested exclusively on
Islands now sue Phil. Steamship Co., the owner of the other vessel, for the value of the a steamer which had allowed dangerous proximity to a sailing
sacks of rice. The Court ruled that both parties were at fault and must therefore be solidarily vessel to be brought about under somewhat similar conditions.
liable. But since the other vessel (the one which sank) was at a total loss and cannot sustain b. The trial judge committed no error in holding that both vessels were to blame
any part of its liability, the burden of responding to the Phil. Islands must fall wholly on Phil. and in applying Article 827 of the Code of Commerce to the situation before
Steamship Co. him.
i. It is there declared that where both vessels are to blame, both shall
be solidarily responsible for the damage occasioned to their
DOCTRINE cargoes.
Where both vessels are to blame for the collision, both shall be solidarily liable for the ii. As the Isabel was a total loss and cannot sustain any part of this
damage occasioned to the loss of their cargo. liability, the burden of responding to the Government of the
Philippine Islands, as owner of the rice embarked on the Isabel,
must fall wholly upon the owner of the other ship, that is, upon the
FACTS defendant, the Philippine Steamship Company, Inc.
1. The boat Isabel left the port of Manila destined for Balayan, Batangas carrying 911 c. Only one observation will be added, in response to one of the contentions of
sacks of rice belonging to the Government of the Philippine Islands (Government) worth the appellant's attorneys, which is, that the application of Article 827 of the
P14,648.25. Code of Commerce is not limited by Article 828 to the case where it cannot
2. After 4 hours of the Isabel being under weigh, and after it had passed the San Nicolas be determined which of the two vessels was the cause of the collision.
Light near the Manila Bay entrance, the watch and the mate on the bridge of the Isabel d. On the contrary Article 828 must be considered as an extension of Article
discerned the light of another vessel (Antipolo) coming towards it. combined the rule of liability announced in Article 827 is applicable not only
3. The watch and mate on the bridge of the Antipolo also saw the Isabel, the two vessels to the case where both vessels may be shown to be actually blameworthy but
being about 1.5 or 2 miles apart. also to the case where it is obvious that only one was at fault but the proof
4. Each vessel was going at the speed of 6 mi/hr, and in about 10 mins., they were in does not show which.
close proximity to each other.
5. When the mate of the Antipolo, who was at the wheel, saw the danger of the situation DISPOSITIVE PORTION
and saw Isabel “almost on top of him”, he put his helm hard to the starboard. This move The judgment appealed from must be affirmed.
was correct and if the helmsman of the Isabel had done the same, the two vehicles
would have passed each other without colliding.
6. However, the mate on the Isabel placed his own held hard to port, in disregard of the DIGESTER: Liana
regulations and of common prudence, veering the vessel in the directly in the path of
Antipolo thus resulting in a collision.
7. Upon collision, the mate of the Antipolo stopped his engines, but the Isabel continued
at full speed. The latter immediately sank. The vessel and cargo were lost, but the crew
members were saved.
8. The Government filed an action against Phil. Steamship Co., the company which owns
Antipolo, for the recovery of the sum of the alleged value of the 911 sacks of rice lost
due to the collision.
9. The trial court ruled that negligence was imputable to both vessels, though differing in
character and decree with respect to each. Both vessels were at fault.
a. The mate of the Antipolo was negligent in having permitted their vessel to
approach directly towards Isabel until they were in dangerous proximity;
b. The mate of Isabel was negligent because shortly preceding the collision, the
vessel was handled in an incorrect and incompetent way. This may be
explained by the fact that the mate on the Isabel had been on continuous duty
during the whole preceding day and night and was probably exhausted and
was either inattentive or dozing off at the time the other vessel approached.