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Wreck Report for 'Little Nell', 1895

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Unique ID:16674
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Little Nell', 1895
Creator:Board of Trade
Date:1895
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown

Transcription

(No. S 96.)

"LITTLE NELL" AND "NELLIE ROBERTS."

The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1887.

IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at the Town Hall, Hull, on the 15th, 16th, and 18th days of March 1895, before E. C. TWISS, Esquire, assisted by Captain ALEXR. WOOD and Captain T. TOLSON EDWARDS and HENRY TOOZES, Esquire, into the circumstances attending the loss of the British sailing ship "LITTLE NELL," of Grimsby, through collision with the British sailing ship "NELLIE ROBERTS," in the North Sea, on the 30th of January 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 said collision and subsequent loss of the "Little Nell" was brought about by her skipper having failed to comply with Article 14, sub-section (b), of the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. The Court finds the skipper of each vessel in default, and suspends the certificates of competency as skipper of Mr. Charles Hall, number 345, and Mr. Joseph Turner, number 3,974 respectively, for three calendar months from the date hereof; but upon their applications, recommends that a certificate as second hand be granted to each during the period of such suspension.

Dated this 18th day of March 1895.

 

(Signed)

E. C. TWISS, Judge.

We concur in the above report.

 

(Signed)

A. WOOD,

 

 

 

T. T. EDWARDS,

Assessors.

 

 

H. TOOZES,

 

Annex to the Report.

This inquiry was held at the Town Hall, Hull, on the above mentioned days, when Mr. H. Saxelbye appeared on behalf of the Board of Trade, and Mr. A. M. Jackson the skipper, third hand, and deck hand respectively of the "Nellie Roberts."

The skipper of the "Little Nell" appeared in person, but was not represented professionally.

The "Little Nell," official number 67,706, was a dandy-rigged fishing vessel, built of wood at Kilpin Pike, Yorkshire, by Mr. John Banks, junr., in 1873, and she was owned jointly by Mr. Thomas C. Moss and Mr. Frederick Moss, of Grimsby, the former having been appointed her managing owner in 1889.

Her dimensions were as follows:—Length, 70.6 ft.; breadth, 19.15 ft.; and depth of hold, 1017 ft.; and her registered tonnage, 61.39 tons; and she was registered at the port of Grimsby.

The "Little Nell" left Grimsby on the 29th day of January last, bound for a single boating fishing cruise between the Dogger Bank and the Silver Pits, North Sea, under the command of Mr. Charles Hall, who held a certificate of competency as skipper, number 345, and bearing date November 1883, with a crew of four hands all told, which was one short of the ordinary complement of this vessel.

She proceeded on her trip, and on the following morning between 7 and 8 a.m. she was distant some 40 miles N.E. from Spurn. According to the statement of her skipper, she was then lying to on the port tack, heading S.S.E. under whole mainsail, reefed mizzen, third jib and foresail, which was to windward. The wind was E. by S., a moderate breeze with a nasty sea, and the "Little Nell," we were told, was making from one to one and a half knots. Her skipper stated that she was hove to for the purpose of reefing the mainsail. About 7 a.m. the skipper sent the third hand below to fetch him a cup of tea, and about the same time he saw a vessel approaching on the starboard tack, heading about N.E., distant some two miles. He stated that the vessel approached on the same bearing until about two vessels' lengths off, when she suddenly put her helm down and struck his vessel just before the main rigging, cutting into the seventh plank on the deck and down the water-line, knocking the "Little Nell" round on the opposite tack.

He had previously called all hands on deck, and after the collision he at once ordered out the boat, and kept his vessel before the wind to prevent her from sinking. When the boat was ready for putting overboard, the vessel's head was brought to the wind, and the boat thrown out on the weather side. A fish box with 60 fathoms of line was put overboard to act as a sea anchor to keep the boat's head to sea, and all hands got into it, and within a few minutes the "Little Nell" disappeared, none of the crew actually seeing her go down. This, we were informed, was about twenty minutes after the collision, the other vessel at this time being about two miles distant on the port tack. Distress signals were shown from the boat, and subsequently the smack "Britannia," of Grimsby, came up and took all hands safely on board, and then sailed off to the other vessel, which proved to be the fishing vessel "Nellie Roberts," of Grimsby. The skipper of the latter vessel hailed that he was going back to Grimsby, and invited them to come on board, but this the skipper of the "Little Nell" declined to do.

The "Britannia" therefore proceeded to Grimsby, where she landed the crew of the "Little Nell" the same evening. This was the account of the casualty as given generally by the witnesses from the "Little Nell."

The "Nellie Roberts," official number 93,890, is a ketch-rigged fishing vessel, built of wood at Grimsby, in 1886, by Messrs. Smith Bros., and her dimensions are:—Length, 79 ft.; breadth, 21 f.; and depth of hold, 10.4 ft.; and her tonnage 88.83 tons nett register. She is owned and managed by Mr. William Thomas Roberts, of Grimsby, at which port she is registered.

The "Nellie Roberts" left Grimsby on the morning of the 29th day of January last, bound for a "single boating" fishing trip on the westernmost edge of the Dogger Bank, under the command of Mr. Joseph Turner, who held a certificate of competency as skipper, number 3,974, and dated December 1891, with the usual crew for this class of vessel of five hands all told. On the morning of the 30th the skipper went below at 4.30 a.m., leaving the deck in charge of the third hand, who remained in charge until about 6 a.m., when he was relieved by the deck hand, an apprentice named Collins, who is 17 years of age. Shortly afterwards the third hand went below, leaving instructions with Collins to keep the vessel, which was then close hauled on the starboard tack, heading about N.E., close to the wind, a good look-out, and call him if any lights came in sight. The vessel was under reefed main and mizzen jib and foresail, the wind, as before stated, being E. by S., a strong breeze, the vessel making a rate of about five knots. At about 7.15 a.m. the deck hand observed a green light on the lee bow, distant about three miles. He kept his course, but failed to call the third hand, thinking, as he stated, that the other vessel would give way every minute. Seeing, however, that the latter did not do so, when within about five vessels' length he called up the third hand, and upon his coming on deck and seeing the other vessel some two lengths only off, he shouted out to the deck hand to luff. This order was at once carried out, but although the "Nellie Roberts" answered her helm, she failed to clear the other vessel, which, as will have been seen, was the "Little Nell," striking her in the manner previously described.

Through the force of the collision the "Nellie Roberts" was thrown about on the other tack, her bowsprit being carried away close to the stem, and her stem damaged. The skipper. who had come on deck at about the time of the collision, at once proceeded to ascertain what damage his vessel had sustained. He found that she was making no water, and he then gave the necessary orders for clearing away the wreckage and getting in the bowsprit. For about 20 minutes or so all hands were engaged upon this, and when the bowsprit had been got aboard, it was discovered that the "Little Nell" had already sunk.

The skipper then proceeded to rig a jury bowsprit, but took no steps whatever to bring his vessel in the direcation of the spot where the "Little Nell" had foundered to render assistance, nor did he take any trouble to ascertain what had become of the crew; in fact, he appears to have given their case no consideration at all until they had, as has been shown, been brought alongside in the smack "Britannia," and in the opinion of the Court this conduct was not justifiable.

The "Nellie Roberts" then put back to Grimsby, arriving there the name evening.

In the course of the inquiry there was considerable conflict as to whether the "Little Nell" was or was not hove to on the port tack at the time of the casualty, those on board her asserting that she was hove to with her foresheet to windward, whilst those on board the "Nellie Roberts" affirmed that her foresheet was drawing, and that she was sailing as fast as they were. The witnesses from the "Little Nell" also alleged that the "Nellie Roberts" was sailing free, but having regard to the evidence as a whole, the Court is quite satisfied that she was close hauled on the starboard tack. Whether the "Little Nell" was hove to or not it was obviously her duty under the circumstances to have kept out of the way of the "Nellie Roberts."

It has been generally admitted by the witnesses that it is the rule for two hands to be on deck during the passage to and from the fishing grounds, but in practice this rule is too frequently ignored. In this case the vessel was left in sole charge of a lad 17 years of age, and about two years experience at sea, from about 6.30 a.m., which, in the opinion of the Court, was both unsafe and improper.

At the conclusion of the evidence Mr. Saxelbye submitted the following questions, upon which the Board of Trade desired the opinion of the Court:—

1. Whether both vessels complied with the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, particularly the "Little Nell" with Article 14, sub-section (b), Articles 22 and 23, and the "Nellie Roberts" with Article 14, sub-section (a), Articles 22 and 23?

2. Whether it was the practice on board the "Nellie Roberts" to leave the deck at times in the sole charge of Arthur Collins, apprentice, and, if so, whether in the opinion of the Court such a proceeding was safe and proper?

3. Whether a good and proper look-out was kept on board both vessels?

4. Whether both vessels were navigated with proper and seamanlike care?

5. What was the cause of the collision?

6. Whether both, or either vessel, attempted to stand by the other after the collision, or otherwise act in conformity with section 422 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, and if not, were they, or either of them, justified in not so doing?

7. Whether the skipper of the "Little Nell," and skipper, third and deck hands of the "Nellie Roberts" are, or either of them is, in default?

The Board of Trade is of opinion that the certificates of the skipper of the "Little Nell" and the skipper of the "Nellie Roberts" should be dealt with.

Mr. A. M. Jackson having called one witness, then addressed the Court on behalf of his respective clients and having been followed by the skipper of the "Little Nell," Mr. Saxelbye, on the part of the Board of Trade, replied, and the Court in giving judgment replied to the several questions as follows:—

1. The "Little Nell" did not comply with Article 14, sub-section (b), nor with Article 23 of the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

Article 22 was not applicable to her case. Article 14, sub-section (a), did not apply to the case of "Nellie Roberts," but she did comply with Articles 22 and 23 of the said Regulations.

2. It was the practice on board the "Nellie Roberts" when sailing to leave the deck at times in the sole charge of Arthur Collins, apprentice, and the Court is of opinion that such a proceeding was neither safe nor proper.

3. Inasmuch as each vessel was sighted by the other when at a very considerable distance apart, it cannot be said that a good look-out was not kept.

4. Neither vessel was navigated with proper and seamanlike care.

5. The collision was due to the "Little Nell" having failed to comply with Article 14, sub-section (b), of the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

6. After the collision the "Little Nell" was not in a position to render any assistance to the "Nellie Roberts," but the Court considers that very grave laxity was exhibited on the part of the skipper of the "Nellie Roberts" in not endeavouring to render any assistance to the crew of the "Little Nell," particularly after he had become aware that that vessel had sunk.

7. The Court considers that blame is attributable to the deck-hand of the "Nellie Roberts" for not having called up the third hand sooner than he did, but it does not find him in default.

The Court finds, for reasons given in replies to the several preceding questions, both the skipper of the "Little Nell" and the skipper of the "Nellie Roberts" in default, and adjudges that the certificate of each be suspended for three calendar months from the date hereof.

 

(Signed)

E. C. TWISS, Judge.

We concur.

 

(Signed)

A. WOOD,

 

 

 

T. T. EDWARDS,

Assessors.

 

 

H. TOOZES,

 

81564—239. 200.—3/95. Wt. 60. E. & S.

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