|Description:||Board of Trade Wreck Reports for 'Cordova', 1894|
|Creator:||Board of Trade|
|Copyright:||Out of copyright|
The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1887.
IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at the Board Room of the Sunderland Union Offices, John Street, in the Borough of Sunderland, on the 26th and 27th days of January 1894, before JAMES STOKOE and ROBERT APPLEBY BARTRAM, Esquires, two of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said Borough, assisted by Captains WARD and RICHARDSON, Nautical Assessors, into the circumstances attending the loss of the British steamship "CORDOVA," of Sunderland, through striking a rock, about two miles from Hormigas Lighthouse, Spain, on or about the 27th December 1893.
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 loss of this vessel was caused by an error in judgment on the part of the master, in the alteration made in the course at or about 11 a.m. of the 27th December last. The Court does not find the master, Thomas Frostick, in default for such casualty.
Dated this twenty-seventh day of January 1894.
R. A. BARTRAM,
We concur in the above report.
C. Y. WARD.
Annex to the Report.
The "Cordova" was a British steamship, built of iron, at Willington Quay on Tyne, in the year 1880. Her dimensions, as per register, being:—Length, 275.4 ft.; breadth, 37 5 ft.; and depth of hold, 18.85 ft. She was rigged as a schooner, and fitted with two compound surface-condensing engines of 180 horsepower combined, the diameter of the cylinders being 56 and 68 in. respectively, with length of stroke of 42 in. She was registered at the port of Sunderland, her official number being 81,473, and her tonnage, after deducting 618.54 tons for propelling power and crew space, was 1,111.32 tons.
She was owned by Mr. John Tully and others, of Sunderland, Mr. Tully being the appointed managing owner, and she was under the command of Mr. Thomas Frostick, who holds a certificate of competency as master, numbered 5,508.
The "Cordova" left South Shields on the 16th December 1893, bound for Barcelona. She had a crew of 22 hands all told and four passengers, and her cargo consisted of about 1,940 tons of coal. At the time of leaving the Tyne her draught of water was 18 ft. aft. and 18 ft. 2 in. forward.
She proceeded on her voyage, and at about 10.40 a.m. of 27th December Cape Palos was passed at an estimated distance of 1 1/2 miles, the weather at the time being fine and clear, and the vessel proceeding at full speed, making about 8 knots on an E.N.E. magnetic course, and that course was continued until about 11.5 a.m. When Hormigas Lighthouse was abeam, at an estimated distance of one mile, the course was altered to N.E. 1/4 E. magnetic, and about 11.20 the vessel struck some sunken object, and is described as having "grazed along" and passed clear. Immediately afterwards the tanks were sounded, and it was reported that no water was discovered coming in, but about ten minutes afterwards the engineer reported that water was coming in to the stokehole, apparently through the bulkhead. In this bulkhead were three water-tight doors, but at this time they were all open for the purpose of working the coal from the cross-bunkers, and no attempt appears to have been made to shut them, nor were the pumps set going. As the water gained rapidly the fires were drowned out, and as the vessel was sinking the boats were put out, the vessel's head having before this been turned round with a view, as the master stated, of taking the vessel to Carthagena. At this time a steamer was observed, and signals of distress we o made to her, and the steamer, which proved to be the "Heindal," of Bergen, went to their ass stance. The four passengers were transferred to her, and a tow-rope passed between the two vessels with a view of towing the "Cordova" to Carthagena. Shortly afterwards the tow-rope parted, and was repassed. At about 3 p.m. the vessel, then evidently sinking, there being from two to three feet of water on the well deck. The crew were all transferred to the "Heindal," which was still towing the "Cordova," but shortly after this the tow-rope broke again. The "Heindal" remained by the "Cordova" till 4.20 p.m., when the "Cordova" sunk.
The "Heindal" then proceeded on her voyage to Alicante, where the crew and passengers were safely landed.
The Court is of opinion that the master over-estimated his distance from the shore on passing Cape Palos, and again on passing Hormigas Lighthouse, and was nearer the shore than he expected, and that that was the cause of the casualty.
At the conclusion of the evidence the solicitor acting for the Board of Trade desired the opinion of the Court on the following questions:—
1. What number of compasses had the vessel on board, where were they placed, and were they in good order and sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel?
Ans.—The vessel had three compasses on board, viz.: a pole compass, one on the upper bridge, by which the courses were steered, one in the wheelhouse on the lower bridge, and one aft. They were in good order, and were sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel.
2. When and by whom were they made, and when and by whom were they last adjusted?
Ans.—There is no evidence to show by whom they were made; they were last adjusted by Mr. Morton, of South Shields, in April or May 1893, off the Tyne.
3. Did the master ascertain the deviation of his compasses by observation from time to time? Were the errors of the compasses correctly ascertained, and the proper correction to the courses applied?
Ans.—The master did ascertain the deviation of his compasses by observation from time to time. The errors of the compasses were correctly ascertined and the proper corrections to the courses applied.
4. Whether the vessel was supplied with proper charts and sailing directions?
5. Whether proper measures were taken at or about 10.40 a.m. of the 27th December, and from time to time thereafter, to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel?
Ans.—For all practical purposes proper measures were taken at about 10.40 a.m. of 27th December, and from time to time thereafter to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel.
6. Whether a safe and proper course was steered after 10.40 a.m. of the 27th December, and whether due and proper allowance was made for currents?
Ans.—A safe and proper course was steered after 10.40 a.m. of 27th December, and due and proper allowance was made for currents.
7. Whether a safe and proper alteration was made in the course at or about 11 a.m. of the 27th December. and thereafter steered, and whether due and proper allowance was made for currents?
Ans.—A safe and proper alteration was not made in the course at or about 11 a.m. of the 27th December.
8. Where and on what did the vessel strike, and is the obstruction marked upon the Admiralty Charts, Nos. 1,372 and 2,717?
Ans.—In the opinion of the Court the vessel struck on Fuera Bank, which is marked upon the Admiralty Charts, Nos. 1,372 and 2,717.
9. Whether every effort was made by the master, officers, engineers, and crew to save the vessel?
Ans.—No, inasmuch as the bulkhead doors were not closed and the pumps were not put on.
10. Whether the vessel was prematurely abandoned?
Ans.—The vessel was not prematurely abandoned.
11. What was the cause of the casualty?
Ans.—The alterations in the course made at about 11 a.m. of the 27th December.
12. Whether the vessel was navigated with proper and seamanlike care?
Ans.—Yes, up to about 11 a.m. of the 27th December, but not afterwards.
13. Whether the master and officers are, or either of them is, in default?
Ans.—The Court does not find either the master or officers in default, but the master committed an error in judgment in estimating the distance of the vessel from Hormigas Lighthouse at or about 11 a.m. of 27th December, when he altered the course to N.E. 1/4 E.
R. A. BARTRAM,
We concur in the above report.
C. Y. WARD.
76268—177. 180.—1/94. Wt. 60. E. & S.