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Jax Daily Record Monday, Nov. 9, 201512:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Lawsuit filed against ship carrying coffee beans and nuclear waste

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

A $60,000 lawsuit was filed against the MV Aristodimos, which arrived at the Port of Jacksonville with a cargo of coffee beans and two containers of spent nuclear fuel.

The suit, filed against the Greek owners of the vessel on behalf of three maritime freight companies, was aimed at collecting damages claimed for a contaminated shipment of coffee unloaded from the Aristodimos Nov. 1 in New York City.

The plaintiffs were represented by the Ulmer, Murchison, Kent, Ashely and Ball law firm of Jacksonville.

The suit charged that 2,500 bags of coffee from African ports arrived at the Port of New York “in a seriously injured and damaged condition by having been intermixed or contaminated with foreign substances” and the damage was caused by the negligence of the vessel operator.

The captain of the vessel would not allow any cargo to be unloaded in Jacksonville, not because of the libel suit, but due to a separate dispute over charter costs.

The ship’s cargo comprised 17,000 bags of coffee beans and more than 21 tons of spent nuclear fuel from French government research reactors.

It was the first shipment of spent nuclear fuel to arrive in Jacksonville or any other Florida port, said Dave Rawls, Jacksonville Port Authority managing director.

The spent fuel’s final destination was the Atomic Energy Commission’s Savannah River uranium stockpile plant near Aiken, S.C., where it was scheduled to be reprocessed.

The owners of the Aristodimos had 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.

• The Cummer Gallery of Art was the focal point of interest in Spanish culture.

An exhibit on loan, “700 Years of Spanish Art,” was being displayed in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine by the Spanish. It was attracting more visitors to the gallery than any previous exhibition, said Gallery Director Joseph Dodge.

He said he considered the 57-item collection “the most comprehensive panorama of Spanish art ever displayed in the Southeast.”

In addition to paintings by famous artists from El Greco to Pablo Picasso, the exhibit also included wood sculpture and ornamented furnishings.

• Spectators along the route of the Veterans Day parade were able to contribute directly to U.S. military forces in Vietnam and to the citizens of the war-torn country in Southeast Asia.

They were asked to toss paperback books and soap into a truck that followed the city Recreation Department’s floats in the parade.

The soap would be turned over to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Training Center for transportation to Vietnam and distribution with other items to the Vietnamese.

The books were to be added to thousands of others being collected by the USO for shipment to military personnel in Vietnam.

• Luke Sadler, chairman of the nominating committee of the North Florida Council Boy Scouts of America for its 1966 officers, found himself unexpectedly elected president.

He succeeded Prime F. Osborn, who served for four years before being elected president of the Region 6 Council of the Boy Scouts.

The election was what Sadler called “the culmination of a strange turn of events.”

He said when the committee agreed on its recommendation — which was not Sadler — Osborn and Scout Executive Horace Williamson went to the man’s office to get his acceptance.

“When the smoke cleared, I had been double-crossed and was the nominee for the office,” Sadler said.

“I will accept the office knowing I will have the full support of the council’s executive board and the knowledge the council will continue to move forward as it has the past four years,” he said.

• The role of railroads as partners in the development of Southeastern ports was described by W. Thomas Rice, president of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Co.

“It’s just as much to our interest that these ports are kept busy,” he said to members of the South Atlantic & Caribbean Ports Association, who were meeting at the Robert Meyer Hotel.

Rice also congratulated members of the Jacksonville Port Authority for their success in having a $25 million bond issue approved by voters for expansion of the Port of Jacksonville.

• Florida Gas Co. celebrated the opening of its renovated building at 29 E. Adams St.

“A striking new facade has been erected on the front of the building in keeping with the modern motif of the Downtown section,” said Ed Arther, Jacksonville division manager.

The new entrance was designed with an arch, with a bridge leading over a rock garden to the sales room.

The entire building was remodeled, with executive offices, general accounting offices and a conference room on the second floor.

An addition to the building was the Blue Flame Room, which would be available to the public for meetings.

“Florida Gas Co. is growing with the city and this building reflects the faith of the company in the future of Jacksonville,” Arther said.

• Florida Gov. Haydon Burns was in Culver City, Calif., for a meeting with motion picture and television industry executives to promote the state as a destination for production companies.

Burns said Florida offered an excellent climate — not just the weather but also its economy and taxation policies.

Addressing a meeting sponsored by the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers at Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios, Burns said Florida offers “compelling economic advantages” for many types of industry.

“I am confident you will decide that you can make profitable pictures by expanding your operations to Florida,” he said.

Joining Burns at the meeting was Charles Campbell, chairman of the Florida Development Commission, who offered a specific example of the state’s attractive business climate compared to other states where films were being produced.

“Motion picture negatives would be taxed only on their raw stock value in Florida. This means that your film will not be taxed this year on what it might make in five years from now. Such a five-year projected profit in some cases might never materialize if, for instance, a picture could not be finished due to the death of a star,” he said.

“Florida officials are aware of all tax problems and will cooperate to establish a profitable business climate,” Campbell said.

• A yacht owner from Fort Lauderdale was bound over to Criminal Court on charges he caused a boating mishap on the Intracoastal Waterway but did not stop to render aid.

Thomas Egan, owner of Cee Dream, pleaded not guilty to the charges in a preliminary hearing before Jacksonville Beach Justice of the Peace William Gufford. Egan was released under $250 bond and ordered to appear in court Dec. 28 in Jacksonville.

Gufford said Egan would be charged with causing an accident by operating a boat in a careless and reckless manner and with failing to stop and render aid or making known his name and address as required by law.

Egan was arrested in Flagler County on a warrant issued in Jacksonville Beach. W.R. Hendricks Sr. of 1828 Cherry St. in Jacksonville complained he was thrown in the water after his 14-foot outboard motor boat was overturned by the wake of Cee Dream.

Hendricks’ boat was anchored in the waterway about a half-mile north of the San Pablo Creek Bridge above Atlantic Boulevard. He said he and a companion were fishing when the mishap occurred. The companion was not injured.

At least three men were seen on the bridge of the Cee Dream, Hendricks said, but the yacht did not stop to help.

He appeared in court wearing a neck brace he said he had to wear because of the accident.

Hendricks was not able to identify the yacht, but a check of the bridge tender’s records indicated it was the Cee Dream. The accident occurred about 3 p.m. Oct. 26. Egan was apprehended by Flagler County deputies the next day.

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