|Description:||Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'Harriet Wardle', 1889|
|Creator:||Board of Trade|
|Copyright:||Out of copyright|
(No. 3738.) "HARRIET WARDLE." The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876. IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at South Shields, on the 26th and 27th days of February 1889, before HENRY WILSON and JOHN BOWMAN, Esquires, Justices of the Peace, assisted by Captains METHVEN and COSENS as Nautical Assessors into the circumstances attending the stranding of the ship "HARRIET WARDLE," in Reikslakt Bay, Island of Dago, on the 21st of September 1888. 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 cause of the stranding and material damage to the ship was the reckless navigation by the master in mistaking Neckman's Grund Beacons for Vincova Shoal Beacons, and subsequent utter disregard to time, distance, and soundings. We have therefore adjudged the master in default, and ordered his certificate to be suspended for four calendar months. Meanwhile, we recommend the Board of Trade to grant him a chief mate's certificate. Dated this 27th day of February 1889. (Signed) JOHN BOWMAN, Justices. HENRY WILSON, We concur in the above report. (Signed) R. METHVEN, Assessors. WILLIAM COSENS, Annex to the Report. The "Harriet Wardle" was built of wood, at Sunderland, in March 1862, and was of 252 tons register. She is brig rigged, and her official number is 44,461. She is owned by Thomas G. Robins and George Godfrey, of Gurnsey, each holding 32/64th shares. Mr. Thomas G. Robins being the managing owner. The vessel sailed from the Tyne on the 5th September last, laden with a cargo of 340 tons of coal. She had a crew of 9 hands all told, was supplied with two fly-wheel pumps, two boats, and two compasses, all in good order, and the vessel herself was also in good order. All went well until they arrived off Dagerort on the 21st September, at about 1 p.m., distant about 6 or 7 miles. The wind at this time was blowing fresh from the N.W., and the vessel was under all plain sail. After passing Dagerort the master shaped a course N.E. 1/2 E., with the view of passing between Neckman Grund and Vinkova Shoals. However, the Broom Beacons at the middle part of Neckman's Grund were made. Before clearing the northernmost buoys of Neckman Grund the master kept away, concluding that he had reached its northernmost limit. Presently the two beacons marking the northernmost limit were seen on the port bow. These beacons he dealt with as being the beacons of Vinkova Shoal, which are of the same character as those of Neckman's Grund. This mistake was made notwithstanding a good space lies between them, and the limiting beacons are 5 miles apart. Having rounded Neckman s Grund, under the supposition that it was Vinkova Shoal, a S.E. course was then steered, when a Lighthouse was seen an hour and a half afterwards on the port bow, which the master took for Wormso Lighthouse. The land all this time had never been lost sight of, and this should have shown to the master the impossibility of its being Wormso Lighthouse which he sighted. Under this assumption the captain continued a S.E. course until he saw vessels at anchor in a bay, which he assumed to be off his destined port, viz., Kertel. The mistake he was making should have been obvious to him seeing that, independent of his false estimation of distance, he was navigating with the mainland on his port hand instead of on his starboard hand. After seeing the vessels at anchor the master commenced using the lead. The sight of several vessels at anchor seems to have quite reassured him of the accuracy of his position, and, making use of the lead 2 miles or so, he proceeded towards the anchorage, and grazed the ground once, and finally stranded close to the vessels at about 5.30 p.m. Unsuccessful efforts were made to get the vessel off. On the following morning salvors arrived, with whom an arrangement was made to get her off for one-fourth of value of ship and cargo. A schooner was brought alongside by the salvors, and between 60 and 70 tons were transhipped. The vessel was got off and sailed to Kertel under charge of a pilot, where all the cargo was eventually discharged. Prom this she proceeded to Aho, where she was put on the slip, and it was found the ship had received material damage. A broad portion of her keel had been torn away, and several planks in the port bulge had to be replaced, also the stem and fore-foot had to be refastened and the requisite caulking done. She finally proceeded to Rafso, and loaded a cargo of deals and battens, and sailed from thence on the 11th November, bound to Guernsey, where she arrived on the 23rd day of January last. The master was appointed for the one voyage only. He was only a supernumerary, the vessel having been taken out of the coasting trade. The charts and sailing directions which he bad in use were by Imray, of the year 1873. The lighthouse which the master saw was on Takbhona Point, and was not that of Wormso. The light on Takbhona was established in 1876. The master should have appealed to soundings with the lead, and had he done so at any time, with an intelligent estimation of distance sailed over, he would have discovered he was navigating his vessel under gross error. At the conclusion of the evidence, the following questions were submitted for the consideration of the court on behalf of the Board of Trade:— 1. Whether, when the vessel left the Tyne, she was provided with proper charts and sailing directions? 2. Whether safe and proper courses were set and steered after passing Dagerort on the 21st September last, and whether due and proper allowance was made for tide, currents, and leeway? 3. Whether proper measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel from time to time? 4. Whether the Master was justified in mistaking the Takbhona Lighthouse, for the lighthouse on Wormsoe Island? 5. Whether the lead was used with sufficient frequency? 6. Whether a good and proper look-out was kept? 7. What was the cause of the casualty? 8. Whether the vessel was navigated with proper and seamanlike care? 9. Whether the master and mate are, or either of them is, in default? In the opinion of the Board of Trade, the certificate of Robert Crawley, the master, should be dealt with. The questions which have been' submitted to us we answer as follows:— 1. We say that the chart and sailing directions by which the vessel was navigated were out of date. 2. The master had sufficiently estimated his distance off Dagerort by bearing, and shaped a course to go between Neckman's Grund and Vinkova Shoal. He made the middle part of Neckman's Grund, instead of having the northern beacons of that shoal clear on the starboard bow. In steering round the beacons of Neckman's Grund, the master mistook the northernmost beacon on Vinkova Shoal, therefore he did not set or steer a proper course, and this led to the future erroneous courses which put the ship ashore. 3. After the ship passed Dagerort, no proper measures whatever were taken to verify the position of the vessel. 4. The master was in no way justified in mistaking the Takbhona Light for Wormso Light. An appeal to soundings would have demonstrated this at once; besides, the short distance from Dagerort to the place where the master says he thought he saw the lighthouse of Wormso, ought to have told him at once that this could not be the case. 5. Practically the lead would have been an excellent guide to the master in finding his position. In the navigation of this ship the lead was not used at all except when he supposed he was entering his port. It came out in evidence that the vessel had touched the ground about a mile and a half before she finally stranded, and the master had just commenced to use the lead before this touching of the ground. 6. All hands were on deck, and a sufficient look-out was kept, and the captain was in charge. 7. The captain appears to have neglected direction, time, and distance in the estimation of the position of his ship. He concluded that he had arrived at his port, when a little consideration would have proved how wrong he was. He approached his anchorage with the land on his port hand, whereas to enter Kertel Bay he would have had the land on his starboard hand, and this was the cause of the casualty. 8. The vessel was not properly navigated from off Dagerort with seamanlike care, 9. We think the master was alone in default, and we are of opinion that his certificate should be dealt with and have determined to suspend it for four calendar months. In the meanwhile, however, we recommend the Board of Trade to grant to him a chief mate's certificate during the period of suspension of his master's certificate. Dated this 27th day of February 1889. (Signed) JOHN BOWMAN, Justices. HENRY WILSON, We concur (Signed) R. METHVEN, Assessors. WILLIAM COSENS, 54010—259. 180.—3/89. Wt. 30. E. & S.