|Description:||BOT Wreck Report for 'Hartfield', 1909|
|Creator:||Board of Trade|
|Copyright:||Out of copyright|
The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894.
IN the matter of a Formal Investigation held at Liverpool on the 30th and 31st days of March, 1909, before T. S. LITTLE, Esquire, Stipendiary Magistrate, assisted by Captains HENRY HIGGINSON and JOHN TAYLOR, into the circumstances attending the loss of the British sailing ship "HARTFIELD" on or about the coast of Vancouver Island, December, 1907.
Report of Court.
The Court having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the above-mentioned shipping casualty, for the reasons stated in the Annex hereto, finds no evidence which enables it even to infer the cause of the loss of the "Hartfield" with all hands.
Dated this 31st day of March, 1909.
T. SHEPHERD LITTLE, Judge.
We concur in the above Report,
Annex to the Report.
This inquiry was held in the Magistrates' Room, Dale Street, Liverpool, on the 30th and 31st days of March, 1909, before Thomas Shepherd Little, Esquire, Stipendiary Magistrate, assisted by Captains Henry Higginson and John Taylor as nautical assessors. Mr. Paxton represented the Board of Trade, and Mr. Brydon, of Messrs. North, Kirk, & Cornett, watched the interests of the widow of the captain of the "Hartfield."
The "Hartfield," Official Number 87961, was a British sailing ship, built of iron, in the year 1884, at Whitehaven, in the County of Cumberland, by the Whitehaven Shipbuilding Company, Limited, Mr. T. J. Walmsley, of 18, Chapel Street, Liverpool, being designated managing owner by advice, under his hand, dated 29th September, 1896. Her dimensions were as follows:—Length, 261.7 feet; breadth, 39.3 feet; and depth, 24.1 feet. Her gross tonnage being 1866.50 tons, and registered tonnage 1814.57 tons. There was a water tight collision bulkhead, and she was last surveyed in June and July, 1905, at London, and classed A1 at Lloyd's. While in London, in December, 1906, and January, 1907, before starting on her last voyage, she was thoroughly overhauled, and had some new spars, life belts and buoys supplied, and additional buoyancy was given to the second life boat.
She left London in January, 1907, for Sydney, New South Wales, with a general cargo. She arrived there all safe, and loaded a cargo of coal for Valparaiso, at which port she arrived about 21st August, after a very stormy passage, according to the master's letter to his owners. There the coal was discharged, and sand ballast taken in to the amount of 1030 tons, Spanish, equivalent to about 1014 English tons, for a passage to Tacoma, Washington, U.S.A. This is about the same quantum that she had had on previous voyages. The master had been advised by cable from his owners that they had chartered the vessel for a cargo of wheat from Tacoma, to which port he was to make all possible dispatch. He left Valparaiso for Tacoma on 25th October, 1907. The "Hartfield" had a crew of 22 hands, including the master. Their names are as follows:—
M. H. Bust
C. R. Redin
These names of the crew are given by Arthur Dovey, shipping clerk at the British Consulate-General, Valparaiso, who also states that, of the above, the able seamen, numbered 10 to 20 inclusive, were shipped at that port, the others having come in the ship from Sydney. From the day of the "Hartfield's" leaving Valparaiso there has been no definite news of her, the only light thrown on her probable fate being in a letter written by the keeper of the lighthouse at St. Estevan Point, Vancouver Island, to the Agent of Marine and Fisheries Department, Victoria, British Columbia, in reply to a letter written to him enquiring about the "Hartfield." The letter of the lighthouse keeper reported that when he was at Hesquiat on 22nd December, 1907, he began a search along the coast and continued it up to the 6th January, 1908. He had found two life belts, some hardwood cabin fittings, and a miniature life buoy, upon which latter appeared the words "Hartfield," Liverpool. Beyond this there is nothing to show what became of this vessel. At the time this man wrote it had been blowing a hurricane from the south and south-west, so whether she was blown on shore or whether the cargo shifted and she capsized there is no evidence, As regards the probability of the cargo having shifted, there is a deposition made by the captain of the ship "Palgrave," who was at Valparaiso at the same time as the "Hartfield." He deposes that he saw the loading of the ballast, and that shifting boards were used and also wire hawsers were stretched over it and set up with lashings, and that it appeared well secured, and therefore unlikely to shift.
At the conclusion of the evidence, Mr. Paxton on behalf of the Board of Trade submitted the following questions for the opinion of the Court:—
(1) When the vessel left Valparaiso on or about the 25th October, 1907:—
(a) Was she in good and seaworthy condition as regards hull and equipments?
(b) Was she properly and sufficiently ballasted and in proper trim for a voyage to Tacoma?
(c) Was the ballast properly and sufficiently secured against shifting?
(2) What is the cause of the vessel not having been heard of since she left Valparaiso?
(3) What was the cost of the vessel to her owners? What was her value at the time she left Valparaiso on her last voyage? What insurances were effected and how were they apportioned?
The Court returned the following answers to the questions of the Board of Trade:—
(1) (a) According to the evidence of the Marine Superintendent, when the vessel left London where she had been overhauled and some necessary repairs done she was in good and seaworthy condition as regards hull and equipments, but the vessel and all hands having been lost after leaving Valparaiso, there is no evidence to show what her condition was on leaving Valparaiso on the 25th October, 1907, and as there is no reason to suppose that she met with any casualty on the voyage from London, the supposition is that she was in good and seaworthy condition on leaving Valparaiso.
(b) She had of sand as ballast 1030 tons Spanish, equal to 1014 English tons, and as she had had about that amount of ballast on other voyages, the Court is of opinion that she was properly and sufficiently ballasted and was in proper trim for a voyage to Tacoma.
(c) As the ballast was stowed and secured by the crew (and, as stated above, all hands were lost) there is no direct evidence as to how it was secured, but the Marine Superintendent stated that the masters had orders always to use the shifting boards when their ships were in ballast. There was read a deposition by the master of the ship "Palgrave," made on the 27th August, 1908, stating that he was on board the "Hartfield" while she was at Valparaiso in October, 1907 (ten months previously), and saw the ballast being taken in. He said that shifting boards were used and the ballast was covered over with dunnage wood and a wire hawser stretched over it in six parts and set up with lashings, therefore the Court sees no reason to doubt that the ballast was properly and sufficiently secured against shifting.
(2) In answer to this question the Court has no direct evidence as to her loss. From a letter written by the lighthouse keeper on St. Estevan Point, who states that by request of the Agent of Marine and Fisheries Department, Victoria, British Columbia, when he was at Hesquiat on the 22nd December, 1907, when the weather was very stormy, with the wind shifting from S.E. to S. and then to S.W., blowing a regular hurricane from each quarter, he made search along the beach between that date and the 6th January, 1908. and found, on different occasions, two lifebelts and some hardwood cabin fittings, also a miniature life buoy about twelve inches in diameter, and made out the name "Hartfield," Liverpool, on it.
As to how or why these articles came on the beach, whether the vessel was blown on shore from the violence of the wind, was in collision, or capsized from the ballast shifting, there is no evidence to show.
(3) When the vessel was built in 1884, she cost £23,589 8s. 2d.
When she left Valparaiso, her value by the managing owner's evidence was £6,000. The only insurance effected was for £12,000 on hull.
T. SHEPHERD LITTLE,
We concur in the above report,
Liverpool, 1st April, 1909.
(Issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 23rd day of April, 1909.)
(13042—4.) Wt. 59—57. 180. 4/09. D & S.