|Description:||Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'Minna', 1889|
|Creator:||Board of Trade|
|Copyright:||Out of copyright|
(No. 3942.) "MINNA" (S.S.) The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876. IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at St. George's Hall, Liverpool, on the 11th and 12th days of December 1889, before THOS. STAMFORD RAFFLES, Esq., Stipendiary Magistrate, assisted by Captains BAIN and BRAGG, Nautical Assessors, into the circumstances attending the stranding of the British steamship "MINNA," of Chester, on or near Quoy's Ledge, Pentland Firth, on or about the 20th of November last. 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 this vessel being stranded was that she was navigated throughout in dangerous proximity to the coast on which she struck. The certificate of the master was suspended for three months. Dated this 12th day of December 1889. (Signed) T. S. RAFFLES, Judge. We concur in the above report. (Signed) JOHN BAIN, Assessors. J. THRELFALL BRAGG, Annex to Report. This was an inquiry into the stranding of the British steamship "Minna," of Chester, on or near Quoy's Ledge, Pentland Firth, on or about the 20th November last. Mr. Paxton, solicitor, appeared for the Board of Trade, and Mr. Collins, solicitor, for the master and owner of the vessel. The "Minna" was an iron screw steamship, built at Govan, Lanarkshire, in 1865, of 747.43 tons gross, and 438.49 tons registered, and of 150 horses power combined, and registered by the present owner at Chester. She was purchased by Mr. Richard Grandige, of Chester, in August 1888, who paid for her 3,250l., and he spent a considerable sum of money upon her. He valued her—and that valuation was agreed upon in the policies of insurance—at 8,000l. He insured her for 7,000l. and took a risk of 1,000l. himself. She was registered of the highest class in the Bureau Veritas. Her freight was insured for 400l. She was under the command of Mr. Thomas John Snelling, who holds a master's certificate of competency, No. 90,570, dated August 1878, and she had a crew of 16 hands all told. She left Liverpool on the 18th November for Copenhagen, with a cargo of 691 tons of coke, of which 120 to 130 tons were on deck, drawing 12 ft. 8 in. forward, and 16 ft. 4 in. aft. He had a successful voyage up to the 20th November, the weather being fine and clear. At 4.30 a.m. on that day, they passed Cape Wrath, blowing a fresh breeze from south. They passed Dunnett Head about 9.45 a.m. about a quarter of a mile off, when the master decided, the weather being so fine, to take the Inner Sound. After passing Dunnett Head, he hauled her in again and then out, keeping about half a mile from the coast, which is very rocky. The master ordered the lead to be put over, and it was cast three times before grounding—the first cast giving 8 fathoms, and the two subsequent casts no bottom. They were going over the ground 5 knots. After passing St. John's Point there was some little difficulty in keeping her head on her course, and another man was occasionally put to the wheel. When about half a mile off Quoy's Ledge she suddenly took a sheer towards the land. Orders were at once given to starboard, and she was gradually coming up, when she grounded on the rocky ledge. This was about 11.15 a.m. She did not strike heavily, and the master tried to back her off, but without success. He then jettisoned about 80 tons of cargo, but the vessel remained fast. On first sounding she was not making water, but in about an hour she was found to be making several inches hourly. When the flood tide began to make she filled rapidly. The master put a kedge anchor out with hawser attached, but the hawser parted, and she swung broadside on. At 4 p.m. the fires were put out by the rising water, and the master, seeing there was no chance of getting her clear, left her with the crew in the ship's boat about 6.30 p.m., and landed at Huna. They saved all they could, but the vessel became a total wreck. Mr. Paxton put in the following questions:— 1. Were safe and proper courses set and steered after passing St. John's Point, and due and proper allowance made for tide and currents? 2. Was the vessel navigated too close to the land? 3. Was a good and proper look-out kept? 4. What was the cause of the stranding? 5. Were all reasonable efforts made to get the vessel off? 6. Was the master in default in regard to any of the above matters? 7. What was the cost of the vessel to her owner? 8. What was her value at the time she started upon her last voyage? 9. What were the insurances effected upon her, and how were they apportioned? And he stated that in the opinion of the Board of Trade the master's certificate should be dealt with. Mr. Collins then addressed the Court for the master. The Court gave judgment as follows:— 1. There was no course set after passing St. John's Point. He was simply steering by the land, and judging of its distance by the eye. There was no proper allowance made for tide and currents. 2. The vessel was certainly navigated dangerously and unnecessarily close to the land. 3. A good look-out was kept. 4. The cause of this vessel being stranded was her close proximity to the land. No bearings were taken, as might easily have been done. 5. The master did what he could after the casualty to get the vessel off. 6. The master was undoubtedly in default. On acconut of his good antecedents, the Court suspended his certificate for three calendar months only. 7. The vessel cost her owner 3,250l., and he spent upon her before the last voyage 4,750l. Her value at the time she started on her last voyage was 8,000l. 9. She was insured on hull and machinery for 7,000l., and her freight for 400l. The owner considers that his loss by the vessel amounted to about 1,500l. (Signed) T. S. RAFFLES, Judge. We concur in this report. (Signed) JOHN BAIN, Assessors. J. THRELFALL BRAGG, Liverpool, 12th December 1889. 58302—183. 180.—12/89. Wt. 30. E. & S.