|Description:||Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'Glencoe' and 'Largo Bay', 1889|
|Creator:||Board of Trade|
|Copyright:||Out of copyright|
(No. 3748.) "GLENCOE" (S.S.) AND "LARGO BAY." The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876. IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at the Sessions House, Westminster, on the 25th and 26th days of February, and 1st day of March, 1889, before R H. B. MARSHAM, Esquire, assisted by Admiral POWELL, Captain HARLAND, and Captain CUNINGHAME, into the circumstances attending the damage sustained by the British sailing ship "LARGO BAY," through collision with a steamship off Beachy Head, on the 4th day of February 1889, whereby loss of life ensued. Report of Court. The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the above-mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons stated in the annex hereto, that the damage to the "Largo Bay" was caused by a steamer, which the Court finds was the "Glencoe," porting her helm and so. getting into collision with the "Largo Bay;" and that the boy Alexander Macdonald, cabin-boy on board the "Largo Bay," was drowned by falling overboard from the port life-boat of the "Largo Bay" subsequent to the collision. And the Court finds that no blame attaches to the master or to any of the officers of the "Largo Bay." Dated this day of March 1889. (Signed) R. H. B. MARSHAM, Judge. We concur in the above report. (Signed) R. ASHMORE POWELL, ROBERT HARLAND, Assessors. ANDW. CUNINGHAME, Annex to the Report. This case was heard at Westminster on the 25th and 26th days of February, and the 1st day of March 1889, when Mr. Mansell Jones appeared for the Board of Trade, Mr. Myburgh, Q.C., for the "Glencoe," and Sir Walter Phillimore, Q.C., with whom was Dr. Raikes, for the owners and officers of the "Largo Bay." The "Largo Bay," official number 78,618, is a sailing ship, built of iron, at Kinghorn, in the county of Fife, in the year 1878, and was registered at Glasgow in the same year. The builders were Messrs. John Kay & Sons, of Kirkcaldy, and the vessel is classed A 1 100. Her gross tonnage is 1255.10, registered tonnage 121.48, and her under-deck tonnage 1177.95, whileher dimensions are as follows: length, 221 feet 9 tenths; main breadth to outside plank 35 feet 8 tenths; depth of hold 21 feet 25 hundredths. She was barque-rigged, and owned by Mr. John S. Hatfield, of 11 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, who was appointed managing owner on the 14th of August 1886, and thirty-four others whose names appear on the Register. She had four boats, two of which were fitted as lifeboats, the others being one pinnace and a small boat; they were complete in all respects, and ready for immediate use except as regards the sails, which were not bent. She was furnished with three compasses, which were sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel, with two life-buoys and eighteen life-belts. She left Gravesend on the 29th of January with a general cargo, bound to Auckland, New Zealand, under the command of Mr. John Smith, who holds a master's certificate of competency, numbered 0946, and manned by a crew of twenty-one hands, all told, in addition to whom there was one stowaway. On the 30th of January the "Largo Bay" anchored in the Downs, off the village of Kingdown, and remained there until the 4th of February, when the wind became fair. On attempting to weigh the anchor the same was round to have got foul of another anchor, and the wind increasing to a gale from the N.E., it was considered necessary to slip. This was accordingly done, and the vessel proceeded on her course down channel. At 9 p.m. Beechy Head bore about N.E. by N., when the course was altered to W. by N. 1/2 N. At about ten minutes past 10 p.m. a light was reported on the port bow whereupon the mason the master, who was on the took the nightglasses, and, seeing that it was a green light, said to the chief officer, who was standing by his side, "It is a vessel going to the northward, standing across our bows," and then ordered the helmsman to "keep her away," and bring the green light on the starboard bow. When this was done the helm was steadied, and then all at once the vessel's masthead light appeared, showing her to be a steamer. The "Largo Bay" was at this time under two lower topsails, foresail, and foretopmast staysail, there was a strong breeze from the N.E. by E., and she was going about six knots. Almost immediately afterwards another light was reported, which proved to be the green light of a barque about 1 1/2 points on the port bow. The helm of the "Largo Bay" was again starboarded, and when the light was one point on the starboard bow she was steadied at S.W. by W. 1/2 W. In a few minutes the three lights of the steamer were seen about four points on the starboard bow, and at this moment the barque, which was nearly between the "Largo Bay" and the steamer, showed a flare up. As the steamer approached she shut in her green light, showing that she was under port helm; and the master of the "Largo Bay," seeing that a collision was inevitable, ordered his helm hard-a-starboard. Before, however, she could answer it, the steamer struck her with tremendous force on the starboard bow between the stem and the cathead, almost at right angles, smashing in the bow and exposing the collision bulkhead. The force of the collision caused the "Largo Bay" to turn round with her head to the N.E. All hands had been called on deck, and the master at once ordered the starboard or lee lifeboat to be got out, and the pump-well to be sounded. Although there was considerable confusion on board, the lifeboat appears to have been put in the water without undue delay, and the men hurried into her under the impression that their vessel was on the point of foundering. The master in the meantime lighted a Holmes' distress signal, and at his request the crew waited alongside for him. When he got into the boat they shoved off, and remained close to their ship. There was a heavy sea, which obliged them to keep the boat's head to it. In about an hour's time, seeing that the "Largo Bay" had not settled down, the captain induced the crew to return to her. There is some conflict of evidence between the master and the carpenter as to the reports of sounding, the latter stating that previous to leaving the ship he reported that there were two inches in the well, and that the fore-peak was full of water; whilst the master states that he never heard any report of what water was in the well. Be that as it may, they found on their return only 3 inches of water in the well. The master now sent up rockets and burned blue lights; and at about midnight a steamer came alongside and offered to take the crew off, but would not take the ship in tow. The master, however, decided to remain on board, and the steamer left. At about 2.30 p.m. the foremast broke off close to the deck, carrying away the main-top-gallant mast and mizen-topmast. The port lifeboat was now got into the water with some difficulty; and a boy, Alexander Macdonald, whilst unhooking one of the tackles, fell overboard. An A.B., Thomas Kelly, got into a bowline and jumped overboard to save the boy. This gallant attempt, however, failed, as the sea knocked them both against the ship side and washed the boy away, Kelly believing him to be dead at the time. At 7 a.m. the steamer "Urpeth" hove in sight, and in answer to the signals of the "Largo Bay" came down to her, and eventually towed her into Cowes Roads, where she arrived at 3 p.m. on the 6th of February. The ship was afterwards taken to Southampton where she is now under repairs. The steamship "Glencoe," which is now allowed to have been the vessel in collision with the "Largo Bay," was an iron screw steamer of 2,913 tons gross. having a crew of 25 Europeans, 23 Chinamen, two pilots (the Liverpool one having been unable to leave the ship), and also a stowaway, making 51 in all. She left Liverpool on the 2nd of February, and was last reported off Portland at 1.30 p.m. on the 4th of February; and according to the statement of the marine superintendent of the Glen Line Company, to which the "Glencoe" belonged, she would be about the time of the collision near the place where it occurred. Those on board the "Largo Bay" stated that the steamer was seen to go down head foremost within four or five minutes after the collision. Owing to the state of the weather, and the shattered condition of their own vessel, the crew of the "Largo Bay" were unable to render any assistance, and there is little doubt but that all on board the "Glencoe" perished. The only trace of the ill-fated vessel appears to be a life-buoy, marked "Glencoe," which was picked up in the channel by the French trawler, the "Ave Maria," who, at the same time, saw a white-painted boat similar to those carried by the "Glencoe," but the name on which the crew were unable to make out. These were the facts of the case, and, on the conclusion of the evidence, Mr. Jones, on behalf of the Board of Trade, put to the Court the following questions:— 1. Whether the vessel which was in collision with the "Largo Bay" was the "Glencoe"? 2. Whether a good and proper look-out was kept on board the "Largo Bay"? 3. Whether the "Largo Bay" complied with the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, especially Article 22? 4. What was the cause of the collision? 5. Whether the "Largo Bay" was navigated with proper and seamanlike care? 6. Whether the "Largo Bay" was supplied with sufficient boats, whether means existed whereby they could be readily lowered in case of emergency, and whether they were in such a condition as to be lowered promptly? 7. Whether the boats were lowered in a reasonable time after the collision, and, if not, the reason thereof? 8. Whether after the collision prompt and proper measures were taken to preserve discipline on board the "Largo Bay"? 9. Whether the master of the "Largo Bay" took prompt and proper measures to ascertain the condition of the vessel after collision, and whether he was justified in neglecting to take any measures to render assistance to the vessel with which the "Largo Bay" had been in collision? 10. What was the cause of the loss of life from the "Largo Bay"? 11. Whether the master and officers of the "Largo Bay" are, or either of them is, in default? And stated that in the opinion of the Board of Trade the certificates of the master and officers of the "Largo Bay" should be dealt with. Mr. Myburgh, Q.C., and Sir Walter Phillimore then addressed the Court; and judgment was given as follows:— 1. The vessel that was in collision with the "Largo Bay" was the "Glencoe." 2. A good and proper look-out was kept on board the "Largo Bay." 3. The "Largo Bay" complied with the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. She starboarded to a green light on her port bow, not being aware that the green light was a steamer's. The masthead light was subsequently seen only when the steamer had been brought on the starboard bow. The "Largo Bay" was also justified in starboarding to the second green light, which was that of a sailing ship on the starboard tack, while the "Largo Bay" was going free. 4. The Court is of opinion that the collision was caused by the steamer porting her helm whilst on the starboard bow of the "Largo Bay." This may have been done in order to clear the sailing ship beforementioned, which was between the steamer and the "Largo Bay." 5. The "Largo Bay" was navigated with proper and seamanlike care. 6. The "Largo Bay" was supplied with sufficient boats; means existed whereby they could be readily lowered in case of emergency, and they were in such a condition as to be lowered promptly. 7. The starboard lifeboat was lowered in a reasonable time after the collision. The port lifeboat was not lowered, as it was on the weather side. 8. After the collision discipline appears to have been preserved on board the "Largo Bay" as well as it could be expected under the circumstances. 9. The captain did not take prompt and proper measures to ascertain the condition of his vessel after collision. The Court thinks that the captain was unable to take measures towards rendering assistance to save the lives of the crew of the steamer. He could not send the lifeboat with a portion of his crew; and when the whole crew were in the boat, it would have been unsafe to take any more on board. 10. The cause of the loss of the life of Alexander Macdonald was that he fell out of the port lifeboat; and though an able seaman, Thomas Kelly, immediately got over in a bow line and got hold of the boy, a heavy sea washed him out of his arms, and knocked Kelly against the vessel. Kelly states that the boy had previously been knocked against the vessel, and was, in his opinion, dead when washed out of his arms. 11. The master and the officers of the "Largo Bay" are not in default; nor is any one of them in default. (Signed) R. H. B. MARSHAM. We concur. (Signed) R. ASHMORE POWELL. ROBERT HARLAND. ANDW. CUNINGHAME. 54010—271. 180.—8/89. Wt. 30. E. & S.