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Wreck Report for 'Tuskar', 1895

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Unique ID:16715
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Tuskar', 1895
Creator:Board of Trade
Date:1895
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown

Transcription

(No. 5177.)

"TUSKAR" (S.S.)

The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894.

IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at Westminster Town Hall on the 22nd day of July 1895, and at Greenwich Lecture Hall on the 25th day of July 1895, before R. H. B. MARSHAM, Esquire, assisted by Captains WARD and COSENS, into the circumstances attending the stranding of, and consequent serious damage to, the British steamship "TUSKAR," on the Three Foot Rock, S.W. of Suyul Hanish Island, Red Sea, on the 20th day of May 1895.

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 casualty was caused by a strong current, which carried the vessel 12 miles to the N.N.E. of her estimated position, and by the master not altering the course about 10.30 p.m. of the 20th May 1895, when the vessel was out of her estimated position.

The Court finds the master, Mr. Joseph Henderson, in default, and suspends his certificate as master, No. 90,716, for three calendar months from 25th July 1895.

Dated this twenty-sixth day of July 1895.

 

(Signed)

R. H. B. MARSHAM, Judge.

We concur in the above report.

 

(Signed)

C. Y. WARD,

Assessors.

 

 

WILLIAM COSENS,

 

Annex to the Report.

This inquiry was held at the Town Hall, Westminster, on the 22nd day of July, and at the Lecture Hall, Greenwich, on the 25th day of July 1895, Mr. A. Gwynne James appearing on behalf of the Board of Trade, whilst Mr. Nelson appeared for the master of the "Tuskar," and Mr. Davidson for the second officer.

The "Tuskar," of the Port of London, official No. 101,950, is a screw steamer, built of steel at Middlesborough in 1892 by Messrs. Sir Raylton Dixon & Company. Her length is 315 ft., breadth, 41.2 ft., and depth in hold, 21.5 ft. Her gross tonnage is 3042.62 tons, and registered tonnage 1969.09 tons, and she is fitted with a triple expansion direct-acting vertical engine of 250 nominal horse power and 1,100 indicated horse power, the calculated speed of the ship being 9 1/2 knots. She has five water-tight bulkheads, four deck pumps, and the usual engine-room pumps, and on the voyage which is the subject of this inquiry she had four boats of sufficient capacity to carry the crew, two of these being lifeboats. She had three compasses, one (a Sir William Thompson's patent) on the bridge, by which the vessel was navigated, one in the wheel house amidships, and one aft.

She was supplied with the latest Admiralty charts and sailing directions, and she appears to have been well found in all respects.

She is owned by several persons, Edmund Farrar, James Groves, and Edmund Farrar the younger being the managing owners.

The vessel left Karachi on the 11th of May last, bound for Marseilles, with a general cargo, consisting of seed, hides, and cotton, under the command of Mr. Joseph Henderson, who held a certificate of competency as master, No. 90,716, with a crew of 25 hands all told.

All went well until the day of the casualty.

At 4.20 p.m. on the 20th of May last the west point of Perim Island bore E. 1/2 S. magnetic, distant one mile, from whence a course was set N.N.W. magnetic, the engines being at full speed, and the vessel making 8 1/2 knots and hour.

The weather was fine and clear, with light variable airs and a smooth sea.

About this time observations were taken for the deviation of the compass, and it was found that there was no deviation on the points between west and north. On passing the west point of Perim the patent log registered 59 miles.

At 7 p.m. the master took charge of the deck; the weather was fine and clear, but dark; there was no wind, and the sea was smooth.

At 7.45 p.m. the patent log registered 88 miles, when the course was altered to N.W. magnetic, the master intending to pass to the westward of Hanish Island and one mile S.W. of the Haycocks.

At about 10.45 p.m. something dark was seen two points before the starboard beam by the master, the second mate, and the look-out man.

The two latter thought that the object was land, but the master, who did not expect to be so soon within sight of land, said he was uncertain of the object being land, and continued at full speed and on the same course.

This object was unquestionably land, and the master must have known it could be nothing else. And, had he carefully consulted his chart, he would have found that the vessel was out of her reckoning, and would have come to the conclusion that the only course a prudent navigator should take was to turn his vessel round to the S.E. and wait for daylight.

At 11.15 p.m. a dark object was seen close to the vessel on the port bow, having the appearance of a boat; the engines were stopped, but immediately the vessel struck on a reef of rocks.

All hands were called, and the boats were cleared ready for lowering.

On sounding the holds water was found to be flowing into the fore hold, but the other holds were dry. On sounding round the vessel 18 fathoms were found under the stern and '17 fathoms alongside up to the reef. The vessel had run on to the reef for 70 feet.

Between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on the 21st a steamer was seen and a rocket was sent up, but no notice was taken of the signal.

At daylight it was found, by bearings taken of surrounding objects, that the vessel was stranded on the Three Foot Rock to the S.W. of Suyul Hanish Island.

The patent log registered 116 miles, which, on the course (N.W.) steered, places the position of the vessel 12 miles S.S.W. of the reef on which she stranded.

During the 21st water was found in the bilges of No. 2 hold. The sluices in the engine-room bulkhead were opened and the donkey pump was started, which kept the water under.

At 7 a.m. on the 22nd two native craft came to the vessel; one was engaged by the master to go to Perim to obtain assistance, and the second mate and assistant steward left in her for that purpose. The master endeavoured to keep the other vessel standing by until assistance arrived from Perim, but she left on the 22nd.

The weather continued fine during the 22nd and 23rd. On the 24th a breeze rose from S.S.E., and the sea became rough. At 11.50 p.m. the vessel commenced making water aft, and she strained, the bulkheads and decks working. At midnight nothing being in sight. and the master despairing of help coming from Perim. consulted with his officers and crew, and it was decided that it was no longer safe to remain in the vessel, and that she should be abandoned.

On the 25th, at 2 a.m., the master and crew left the vessel in the two lifeboats, towing the two smaller boats containing the men's effects. An attempt was made to land on one of the islands in the vicinity with a view of remaining near the vessel until assistance arrived from Perim or elsewhere, but the boats could not approach the land owing to the surf which was breaking on the coral reefs surrounding it.

The boats were therefore steered to the northward to get into the track of vessels. At 8 a.m. of 26th July the crew were taken on board of the s.s. "City of Dublin," and landed at Port Said on the 2nd June.

The second mate proceeded in the native craft and arrived at Perim at 9 a.m. on the 24th. He made arrangements with the Perim Coal Company to assist in salving the ship and cargo. He left Perim at 4 p.m. in that Company's steamer "Hornet." having a lighter in tow, and arrived at the Three Foot Rock at 9 a.m. on the 25th, when he found the "Tuskar" abandoned. The salvage company's officer then took charge.

Subsequently two other steamers belonging to the Perim Salvage Company, with several boats, pumps, and men, arrived at the scene of the wreck; a portion of the cargo was discharged into them, and eventually the vessel floated and was taken to Perim, where she was temporarily repaired.

These were the facts of the case, and on the conclusion of the evidence, Mr. A. Gwynne James, on behalf of the Board of Trade, put to the Court the following questions:—

1. What number of compasses had the vessel; 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 4.20 p.m. of the 20th May last?

4. Whether a safe and proper course was set at or about 4.20 p.m. of the 20th May last, and whether due and proper allowance was made for tide and currents?

5. Whether a safe and proper alteration was made in the course at or about 7.45 p.m. of the 20th May, and whether due and proper allowance was made for tide and currents?

6. Whether proper measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel at or about 10.30 p.m. of the 20th May, when land was sighted on the starboard bow?

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

8. Where did the vessel strike, and what was the cause of the casualty?

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

10. Whether she was prematurely abandoned?

11. Whether the master and officers are, or either of them is, in default?

12. What was the cost of the vessel to her owners, what were the insurances, and how were they apportioned?

Mr. Nelson then addressed the Court on behalf of the master, and Mr. Gwynne James having replied, judgment was given as follows:—

1. The vessel had three compasses; they were in good order and sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel, and were last adjusted in September 1894, by Williams, at Cardiff.

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

3. Proper measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel at or about 4.20 p.m. of the 20th May last.

4. The master having elected to pass to the westward of the Hanish Islands, the course set, if made good, was safe and proper. No allowance was made for tide and currents.

5. The reply to the last question equally applies to this.

6. No measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel at or about 10.30 p.m.

7. A good and proper look-out was kept.

8. The vessel struck on the Three Foot Rock, S.W. of Suyul Hanish.

The casualty was caused by a strong current, which carried her 12 miles to the N.N.E. of her estimated position, and by the master not altering the course about 10.30 p.m., when the vessel was out of her estimated position.

9. The vessel was not navigated with proper and seamanlike care, inasmuch as the master did not take any measures to ascertain his position on seeing land at 10.30 p.m.

The master having elected to pass through the Western Channel, which, according to the directions on the Admiralty chart, should only be followed in daylight, he was bound to use more than ordinary pre. caution; and on seeing land on the bearing stated when he did not expect to do so, he should not have continued on the course he was steering in a channel full of dangerous reefs.

10. The vessel was not prematurely abandoned.

11. It would certainly have been more judicious for the master to have set a course to pass to the eastward of the Hanish Islands, and looking to the recommendation on the Admiralty chart used by him, the Court considers he committed a grave error of judgment in taking the Western Channel, and did not pay sufficient attention to the instructions in the sailing directions as to the force and irregularity of the currents. The Court finds the master in default for not taking proper measures when land was seen at 10.30 p.m. on the 20th May, and suspends his certificate for three months.

12. The cost of the vessel was 32,000l., and at the time of the casualty the insurances effected were:—Hull and machinery 28,000l., freight and disbursements valued at 4,986l., partly insured for 3,750l. There was an insurance on premiums covering 2,200l. from 26th November 1894 to 26th November 1895.

 

(Signed)

R. H. B. MARSHAM, Judge.

We concur.

 

(Signed)

C. Y. WARD,

Assessors.

 

 

WILLIAM COSENS,

 

Issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 12th day of August 1895.

87089—41. 180—7/95. Wt 165. E. & S.

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