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Wreck Report for 'Highmoor', 1895

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Unique ID:16697
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Highmoor', 1895
Creator:Board of Trade
Date:1895
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown

Transcription

(No. 5137.)

"HIGHMOOR."

The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894.

IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at the Guildhall, Swansea, on the 29th and 30th days of April 1895, before JOHN COKE FOWLER, Esquire, Stipendiary Magistrate, assisted by Captains HUGHES and EDWARDS, into the circumstances attending the stranding of the British sailing ship "HIGHMOOR," of Lancaster, about one mile E. 1/2 N. of Glorioso Island, N.W. of Madagascar, on or about the 19th day 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 stranding and subsequent loss of the said vessel was due to the negligent navigation by the master, Mr. John Jacob Mallgraf, and a defective look-out. The Court finds the master alone in default, and taking into consideration that he has been unemployed since the loss of the vessel on the 19th of January 1895, suspends his certificate, No. 89,790, for three calendar months only from this date.

Dated this first day of May 1895.

 

(Signed)

JNO. COKE FOWLER, Judge.

We concur in the above report.

 

(Signed)

E. M. HUGHES,

Assessors.

 

 

T. TOLSON EDWARDS,

 

Annex to the Report.

This inquiry was held at the Guildhall, Swansea, on the days above mentioned, when Mr. Edward Strick represented the Board of Trade. The master and first mate appeared in person, but were not represented by counsel or solicitor.

The "Highmoor," official number 62,306, was a British sailing vessel, built of iron at Southwick, in the county of Durham, in the year 1868, by Mr. Robert Thompson, Junr., and was owned by Messrs. Burgess and Company (Limited), of Swansea, Mr. James Henry Burgess being managing owner. She was barque-rigged, her dimensions being:—Length 207 ft., breadth 35 ft. 1 1/2 in., and depth of hold 22 ft., and her registered tonnage was 1112.75 tons.

The "Highmoor" left Cardiff on the 15th of October 1894, with a cargo of 1,606 tons of coals, for Mozambique, her draught of water on leaving being 20 ft. 2 in. aft and 19 ft. 2 in. forward, under the command of Mr. John Jacob Mallgraf, who held a certificate of competency, No. 89,790, and with a crew of 18 hands all told. She was supplied with four compasses and had four boats, two being lifeboats, and in all other respects was well equipped. All went well on the voyage until January 17th, when land was sighted, it being the north coast of Madagascar. The master states that he took observations and found that his chronometer was wrong, and informed the Court that it had been "magnetised" during the voyage, but this explanation was not satisfactory to the Court. At 5 p.m. on the above date a bearing was taken of the land, supposed to be Cape Amber, bearing by compass S. by E., estimated distance ten miles. The vessel was then put round on the port tack, standing to the northward, the wind being W.N.W. She stood on this tack until noon of the following day, viz., 18th January 1895, when she was put on the starboard tack. Observations were taken, which the master stated placed him in latitude 10° 40 S., longitude 49° 3 E., and he concluded he was well north of the Glorioso Reef. It is much to be regretted that the Court have reason to doubt this position as not being correct, because on examining the ship's log book and laying down the position of the ship on the 16th and 17th days of January, the course and distance run from the last date do not agree with the master's statement of his position on the 18th of January as being a correct one. Erasures were found in the log book. From noon of the 18th the vessel made westerly courses, steering by the wind with a four-knot breeze until 2 a.m. of January 19th. At 10 p.m. of the 18th, the master states that he went below, leaving orders to be called if any change took place in wind or weather. At 2 a.m. the second mate called him, saying that he saw land on the lee bow. On seeing the land the second mate put the helm to port. The master came up, and seeing she would not stay he tried to wear ship, but the vessel struck the reef and remained fast. The sails were clewed up and the port anchor let go to prevent the vessel driving further upon the reef. At 7 a.m. a kedge anchor was run out astern, but before they commenced to heave upon the hawser the vessel filled with water. It must be remembered that the vessel was 1 foot by the stern, which the master gave as a reason that the ship would not stay, through being out of trim. When asked why he proceeded to sea out of trim, he answered that it was always difficult to have the vessel properly trimmed when loading coals at Cardiff. On finding the vessel filling with water, the master, after having the two lifeboats provisioned and manned, abandoned the vessel with the intention of landing at Mayotta Island; but the weather being unfavourable, they were forced to run to the eastward and subsequently landed, after being five days in the boats, at Nosi-Be, an island close in to Madagascar. The master and crew afterwards proceeded to Zanzibar, from which place they were sent home by H.B.M. consul by one of the mail steamers and landed at Plymouth. The second mate unfortunately died of fever at Zanzibar, and the seaman who was on the look-out from midnight till 2 a.m. on the 19th January was not present at this investigation, having shipped for another voyage.

Mr. Strick, for the Board of Trade, submitted the following questions for the opinion of the Court:—

1. What number of compasses had the vessel, where were they placed, and were they in good order and sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel?

2. Did the master ascertain the deviation of his compasses by observation from time to time, were the errors correctly ascertained, and the proper corrections to the courses applied?

3. Whether proper measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel at or about 4 p.m. on the 17th January last?

4. Whether a safe and proper course was then set and thereafter steered, and whether due and proper allowance was made for tide and currents?

5. Whether safe and proper alterations were made in the course at or about noon of the 18th January last and from time to time thereafter, and whether due and proper allowance was made for tide and currents?

6. Whether a good and proper look-out was kept?

7. Whether when Glorioso Island was sighted at or about 2 a.m. of the 19th January prompt and proper measures were taken to keep the vessel off the reef?

8. What was the cause of the casualty?

9. Whether the vessel was navigated with proper and seamanlike care?

10. Whether the master and mate are, or either of them is, in default?

And in the opinion of the Board of Trade the certificates of the master and chief officer should be dealt with.

The Court answered the questions as follows:—

1. The barque "Highmoor" had four compasses: one a standard compass placed on the poop-deck, one steering compass aft in front of the wheel; she had also two spare compasses in boxes; they appear to have been in good order, and the Court considers sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel.

2. The master stated to the Court that he took every opportunity to find the error of his compasses from time to time, and that the errors were properly ascertained and properly applied.

3. The only measure taken to ascertain and verify the position was a bearing of the land, which was then supposed to be Cape Amber, at an estimated distance of ten miles, which under the circumstances the Court considers a proper measure.

4. A safe and proper course was steered, but no allowance was made for tide and current. The master stated that none was perceptible in the position of the ship at that time.

5. Safe and proper alterations were made at noon on the 18th of January last, but the Court is doubtful whether the position of the ship as given by the master on that date is correct. Due and proper allowance was made for currents.

6. The Court is of opinion that a good and proper look-out was not kept on the morning of the 19th.

7. Prompt and proper measures were taken about 2 a.m. on the 19th of January, but too late to keep the vessel off the reef.

8. The cause of the casualty was the negligent navigation of the master and a defective look-out.

9. Up to the 17th of January the vessel seems to have been navigated with proper and seamanlike care. But, after that date, the Court has reason to doubt the accuracy of the position given by the master on the 18th of January, and they have observed erasures in the log of that day.

10. The Court finds the master alone in default and suspends his certificate, No. 89,790, for the period of three calendar months from the date hereof.

 

(Signed)

JNO. COKE FOWLER, Judge.

We concur.

 

(Signed)

E. M. HUGHES,

Assessors.

 

 

T. TOLSON EDWARDS,

 

Issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 13th day of May 1895.

81564—269. 180.—5/95. Wt. 60. E. & S.

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