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Wreck Report for 'Tynemouth', 1913

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Unique ID:20140
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Tynemouth', 1913
Creator:Board of Trade
Date:1913
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown

Transcription

(No. 7608.)

"TYNEMOUTH" (S.S.).

The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894.

IN the matter of a Formal Investigation held at the Moot Hall, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on the 29th and 30th days of July, 1913, before JOHN WILLIAM ROBSON and DAVID THOMAS HOBKIRK, Esquires, two of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace, acting in and for the City and County of Newcastle upon-Tyne, assisted by Captain W. L. MAIN and Commander C. D. GOLDSMITH,. R.N.R. (Nautical Assessors), into the circumstances attending the stranding of the British steamship "TYNEMOUTH," of Newcastle, on or near St. Mary's Island, off the coast of Northumberland, on the 28th day of May, 1913.

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 of the "Tynemouth," whereby she sustained serious damage, was caused by the master neglecting to verify his position by the use of the lead, making no allowance for the inset of the tide, and navigating the vessel at "full speed" towards the land, which was obscured by haze. The Court finds the master, Frederick Koster, in default, and censures him for his wrongful act and default.

Dated this 30th day of July, 1913.

 

J. W. ROBSON,

D. T. HOBKIRK,

Judges.

We concur in the above Report.

 

WM. L. MAIN,

C. D. GOLDSMITH,

Assessors.

Annex to the Report.

This was an Inquiry into the circumstances attending the stranding of the British steamship "Tynemouth," and was held at the Moot Hall, Newcastle upon-Tyne, on the 29th and 30th days of July, 1913, before J. W. Robson and D. T. Hobkirk, Esquires, assisted by Captain W. L. Main and Commander C. D. Goldsmith, R.N.R. (Nautical Assessors). Mr. Burton appeared for the Board of Trade, and Mr. R. Clayton represented the master, while Mr. Lancaster held a watching brief on behalf of the owners.

The "Tynemouth," of Newcastle, Official Number 125465, was a steel screw steamship, built at Bill Quay, on Tyne, in the year 1909, by Messrs. Wood, Skinner and Company, Limited, and was of the following dimensions:—Length 295.2 feet; breadth, 40.55 feet; and depth in hold, 18-25 feet. She was schooner rigged, and fitted with triple-expansion engines of 229 horse power, constructed by the North Eastern Marino Engineering Company, Limited, at Wallsend, in the year 1909. She was of 2222.17 gross, and 1315.37 nett, registered tonnage, and owned by the Burnett Steam Shipping Company, Limited, Messrs. John Walter Burnett and Norman Burnett. both of Milburn House, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, being designated the managing owners on the 17th of July, 1909.

She was, on the voyage in question, in good condition, and well found, and fitted with life-boats and life-saving appliances in accordance with the Act. The vessel had two compasses, particulars of which are hereafter given, the courses being set and steered by the standard compass in the wheel house, and she was supplied with the necessary Admiralty and blueback charts and sailing directions.

The master, who had been with the owners for some 11 years, had been in command of the "Tynemouth" for three years, during which time the vessel had been engaged in the coasting trade round the United Kingdom, and continental ports, principally Hamburg and Brest.

She left London for Blyth at 6 a.m. on the 27th May last, in water-ballast, all her tanks being full, with a crew of 22 hands all told (and no passengers), under the command of Mr. Frederick Koster, who held a certificate of competency as master, number 020276. Her draft of water on leaving was 9 feet forward and 12 feet aft. The vessel arrived off Flamborough Head at 2.20 a.m. on the 28th May, the second officer being then in charge of the bridge, the master having gone below about half-an-hour previously. The vessel was then on a N.N.W. (magnetic) course. The weather was clear and a fourpoint bearing of Flamborough Head Lighthouse was taken, distant, when the vessel was abeam, some three miles. The course was made good, and, at 4 a.m., the second officer was relieved by the chief officer, the log at that time showing 126 miles, the vessel being then just abeam of the South Cheek of Robin Hood Bay. Whitby Lighthouse was abeam at about 4.45 a.m., but no four-point bearing was taken owing to the haze. The log then showed 134 miles, and the chief officer estimated that they passed the lighthouse at a distance of about three miles. Here, in pursuance of instructions he had previously received from the master, the chief officer altered the course to N.W. by N. 1/2 N. (magnetic), and again, at about 8 a.m., to N.N.W. (magnetic).

As the vessel proceeded along the coast the haze gradually increased, entirely obscuring the coast line, though it was apparently clearer to sea. About 7.20 a.m. Souter fog-horn had been heard, bearing about N.W. 1/2W. from the vessel.

At 8 a.m., when the course was altered, the sound was said to be about a point forward of the beam, and the chief officer estimated that Souter Point was some three miles off when abeam, the log at that time showing 175 miles. The vessel had all along been proceeding at "full speed," making about 111/2 knots through the water. The master, who came on deck at 7.55 a.m., after giving the chief officer orders to alter the course, as already stated, went below to breakfast, returning to the bridge about 8.20 a.m., and remaining in charge during the rest of the voyage. The Tyne fog-horn had also been heard since about 7.50 a.m., and the two fog-horns continued to be audible, no land being in sight. Fishing craft were observed ahead crossing the bows of the "Tynemouth," apparently going in and out of the Tyne, the master estimating he could see about a mile. Soon after going on the bridge he rang to the engineer to "stand by," and then hauled the vessel gradually to N.W. (magnetic), half-a-point at a time. The weather had become a little thicker and the steam whistle was sounded occasionally, and, in view of subsequent events, it is probable that they could not see more than a quarter-of-a-mile. At about 8.40 a.m. the master altered the course to N. (magnetic), thinking he was getting close to the land, as a dark line began to come through the haze on the port bow.

The tide, which was then about full, would have a tendency to set the vessel towards the land, but the master neglected to make allowance for it.

As the vessel had been running up the coast for a considerable time with haze obscuring the land, the master, instead of altering his course to N.W. as he did about 8.25 a.m. should have stopped, and taken a cast of the lead, when he would have ascertained his position without difficulty. Within a few minutes of making the subsequent alteration at 8.40 a.m., St. Mary's Island suddenly appeared just on the port bow apparently about a quarter-of-a-mile away. The master immediately ordered the helm "hard-a-port," keeping the engines "full speed ahead." Before, however, the vessel had answered her helm, she took the ground, but never actually stopped, though her way was checked. Her head paid-off to N.E., and she floated in deep water. After getting the vessel into a safe position, the master set a course N. by W.3/4 W., and, steering in for Blyth Harbour at various speeds, the pilot was taken on board outside the harbour, which they entered, and moored on the south side for further orders, and, at 6 p.m., they proceeded into dry dock. The vessel had made no water, but there was a slight leakage abaft the engine room. On examination it was found that the vessel had sustained serious and material damage, some 15 to 20 plates and 52 floors being damaged, the cost of the repairs amounting to £1,250

At the conclusion of the evidence the following questions were submitted on behalf of the Board of Trade. Mr. Clayton addressed the Court for his client, and Mr. Burton replied:

1. What number of compasses had the vessel, were they in good order and sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel, and when and by whom were they last adjusted?

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. Was the vessel supplied with proper and sufficient charts and sailing-directions?

4. Were proper measures taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel when abeam of Flamborough Head at about 2.20 a.m. on the 28th May last, was a safe and proper course thereafter steered, and was due and proper allowance made for tides and currents?

5. Were proper measures taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel when abeam of Whitby Light about 4.45 a.m. on the 28th May last; was a safe and proper course thereafter steered, and was due and proper allowance made for tides and currents?

6. Were safe and proper alterations made in the course at about 8 a.m. on the 28th May last, and thereafter, and was due and proper allowance made for tides and currents?

7. Having regard to the state of the weather after 4.45 a.m. on the 28th May last:

(a) Was the vessel navigated at too great a rate of speed?

(b) Was the lead used, if not. should it have been used?

8. Was a good and proper look-out kept?

9. What was the cause of the vessel striking the ground off St. Mary's Island, North Sea, at about 8.40 a.m. on the 28th May last, and was she seriously damaged thereby?

10. Was the vessel navigated at too great a rate of speed?

11. Was serious damage to the steamship "Tynemouth" caused by the wrongful act or default of the master?

To which the Court replied as follows:

1. There were two compasses on board, viz., a standard compass in the wheel-house, by which the courses were set and steered, and a spirit compass on the upper bridge. They were in good order, and sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel, and were last adjusted by Mr. James Morton, of South Shields, off the Tyne, on the 15th February, 1913.

2. The master stated he took no observations for his compasses, but, being engaged in the coasting trade he verified them at every opportunity by shore marks and had always found them trustworthy, and the deviation in accordance with that indicated on the deviation card. There was practically no deviation on the courses from W. to N., and from N. to S. through E.

3. The vessel was supplied with proper and sufficient charts and sailing directions.

4. Proper measures were taken by four-point bearing to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel off Flamborough Head, which was distant, when abeam at 2.20 a.m., on the 28th May last, about three miles. The course the vessel was then on, viz. N.N.W. (magnetic), was continued. It was safe and proper, and was made good, and due and proper allowance was made for tide and current.

5. No measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel when abeam of Whitby Lighthouse at about 4.45 a.m. on the 28th May last, the haze preventing a four-point bearing being taken. The chief officer, who was on the bridge at the time, estimated they passed about three miles off the lighthouse, the log showing a run of eight miles since 4 a.m., when the vessel was off Robin Hood Bay. The chief officer, in pursuance of instructions he had received from the master, then altered the course to N.W. by N. 1/2. (magnetic). This alteration was safe and proper, and due and proper allowance was made for tide and current.

6. At about 8 a.m. the chief officer, in pursuance of instructions he had received from the master, altered the course to N.N.W. (magnetic). This course was continued till 8.25 a.m., when the master hauled the vessel gradually to N.W. (magnetic), half-a-point at a time, this operation taking about 10 minutes. At about 8.40 a.m., the master altered the course to N. (magnetic), because he thought he was getting close in to the land. Within a few minutes St. Mary's Island suddenly appeared just on the port bow. The master then gave the order "hard-a-port," but, before answering the helm, the vessel took the ground. Swinging round under her port helm, the engines still going "full-speed," she came off the ground and proceeded to Blyth. The alteration at 8 a.m. was safe and proper, but that made at 8.25 a.m. was not safe and proper, as it brought the vessel, then going at "full speed," head on to the land, which was obscured by haze. The subsequent alteration at 8.40 a.m. was in the right direction, but insufficient to clear the land. No allowance was made for tide or current. An allowance should have been made for the tide setting the vessel in towards the land.

7. Having regard to the state of the weather on the 28th May last:

(a) The vessel was navigated at too great a rate of speed after about 8.20 a.m.

(b) The lead was not used. It should have been used after 8.20 a.m.

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

9. The cause of the vessel striking the ground off St. Mary's Island at about 8.50 a.m. on the 28th May last, was the master neglecting to verify his position and navigating the vessel at "full speed" towards the land, which was obscured by haze. The vessel was seriously damaged thereby.

10. The vessel was navigated at too great a rate of speed.

11. The Court finds that the stranding of, and serious damage to, the steamship "Tynemouth" were caused by the wrongful act and default of the master, Frederick Koster, and the Court hereby censures him therefor.

It will be seen that the casualty was entirely due to over-confidence on the part of the master and his neglecting to take proper precautions to verify his position. The "Tynemouth," for a steam-collier, had an exceptional turn of speed, and it would have been well, engaged as she was in the coasting trade, and liable to encounter from time to time thick weather, had she been provided with a patent sounding apparatus.

The general discipline on board the vessel was good, and the master frankly admitted his error.

His record was excellent, his owners gave him the best of characters, and expressed their intention of retaining him in command.

Under all the circumstances, the Court, while finding him in default, considered that a censure would meet the justice of the case.

 

J. W. ROBSON,

D. T. HOBKIRK

Justices.

We concur.

 

WM. L. MAIN, C. D.

GOLDSMITH,

Assessor

(Issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 9th day of August, 1913.)

(31191—4) Wt. 4—89. 190 8/13. D & S.

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