|Description:||BOT Wreck Report for 'Egremont Castle', 1925|
|Creator:||Board of Trade|
|Copyright:||Out of copyright|
"EGREMONT CASTLE" (S.S.).
THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1894.
FINDING and ORDER of a Naval Court held at the British Consulate-General at Manila on the 29th day of July, 1925, to investigate the circumstances attending the wreck and total loss of the British steamship "Egremont Castle," of Liverpool, official number 131388, when on a voyage from San Carlos to Belawan, and the cause of such wreck and total loss, and to enquire into the conduct of the master, certificated mates and crew of the said vessel.
The s.s. "Egremont Castle" was a steam vessel of 3,342 net registered tonnage, official number 131388, built at Stockton-on-Tees in 1911, and belonging to the port of Liverpool.
It appears from the evidence given before this Court that the vessel sailed from San Carlos, in Occidental Negros, Philippine Islands, at 5 p.m. on the 18th day of July, 1925, with a cargo of sugar and general merchandise, and with a crew of 48 hands all told.
It appears that after passing Apo Island a course was steered S. 84 W. (true) to pass about 5 miles south of Tubbataha Reef. It also appears that at noon on the 20th day of July the latitude was found to be 8 degrees 49 minutes N. and the longitude 121 degrees 33 minutes E., and that this gave the ship's position as about a mile south of the intended course, showing a set to the southward, in consequence of which the course was altered to S. 85 W.
It appears also that by dead reckoning at 8 p.m. the vessel was calculated to be still about 11 miles short of the Reef and to the S.E. thereof on a safe course to pass it 5 miles away.
It appears that a good watch was kept and the Tubbataha Light looked for as instructed by the master, but that as the weather though calm was overcast and showery the visibility suffered a considerable reduction; so that there was no chance of seeing the Lighthouse before dark and that no alarm was created by the light not being seen before the impact at 8.15 p.m., when the ship was thought to be still about 10 miles away to the S.E.
It appears that the master in anticipation of the Light being sighted at any moment was on his way to the bridge when the vessel struck the Reef at 8.15 p.m., about 1/2 mile to the N. of the Lighthouse.
It appears that at and about the time of striking the darkness was extreme, nothing being seen of Lighthouse, Reef or breakers (if any), and that there was no light visible from the Lighthouse which was afterwards found to be unlighted.
It appears that the engines were immediately reversed and every effort made for hours by the master and crew to get the vessel off, and that their efforts were renewed at a favourable tide next day, and only abandoned when it was clear the vessel could not get off unaided.
It appears that the master wirelessed his plight as soon as he could get a message through, which was early next morning, to his Manila Agents for the assistance of tugs and lighters, and later the same day that both ends of the ship would have to be discharged, and again to the same effect, and again on the 21st day of July, at 8 a.m., that if the weather turned bad the position would be dangerous.
It appears that after efforts to get assistance from a nearer port—Iloilo—than Manila, arrangements were set under way to send salvage tugs, etc., from the latter port and Cebu, which arrived too late.
It appears that the weather became bad on Thursday, the 23rd day of July, and that the master considers that salvage work after that date would have been impracticable and unsuccessful, and further, that in view of the distance and speed of the vessels available for salvage assistance starting from Manila later than the afternoon of Monday, the 20th of July, would probably not have arrived in time to save the vessel before the bad weather would have interrupted the proceedings.
It appears that after the weather grew bad on Thursday, the 23rd of July, the position of the ship grew rapidly worse. The forward bulkhead broke and other holds and the engine room became flooded, the vessel heeled over considerably and the stern sank steadily till the ship was at an angle of about 45 degrees. By the morning of Saturday, the 25th of July, the position was so bad that the master withdrew his crew to the Coastguard ship "Corregidor," though he continued to visit the vessel himself until after finally going on board at 5 a.m. on Sunday, the 26th July, when he found the end so imminent that he decided to abandon the vessel and proceed to Manila by the "Corregidor."
It finally appears that on the arrival of the salvage vessel "Pompey" later on the same day the "Egremont Castle" had completely disappeared, and that from enquiries from some fishermen in the vicinity it was concluded the vessel had slipped off the Reef and sunk in deep water about 8 a.m. on Sunday, the 26th July, 1925.
The Court having regard to the circumstances above stated finds as follows:—
That the casualty was due to a combination of two factors—
1. An unsuspected set of a current taking the vessel some 10 miles or more to the N.W. of its calculated position, and
2. The fact that the Lighthouse light, which was of the automatic unwatched type, was extinguished,
either of which alone would not have brought about the wreck which was further facilitated by the extreme darkness which prevailed.
That the set of the current mentioned above came into action only between noon and 8.15 p.m. of the same day, making its existence difficult to detect.
That the master set a safe and proper course and took all precautions by way of observations, reckonings, instructions and look-outs that were possible and that in these and other ways he seems to have navigated his vessel in a seamanlike and proper manner; and that the officers and crew appear to have carried out their duties properly.
That the Court sees no ground for blaming the master, certificated officers and crew for the casualty.
That after the wreck the master, certificated officers and crew made every effort possible to get the vessel off by their own exertions, and that the master appealed as early and as practicable for assistance.
That the final loss of the "Egremont Castle" was due to the bad weather between the 23rd and 26th July, which caused the vessel to strain and pound and open up to admit water beyond the control of the master and crew so that the loss became inevitable in view of the ship's position.
That the master abandoned the vessel only when compelled by circumstances to do so, and after paying final visits of inspection in dangerous conditions, and that he was justified in the abandonment.
That the vessel was adequately provided with charts, and that the log book was properly kept.
That thanks are due to the Philippine Authorities concerned for so promptly sending a Coastguard ship, and to the master and crew of that vessel, the s.s. "Corregidor," which stood by for several days in bad weather, finally bringing the master and crew of the s.s. "Egremont Castle" safely to Manila.
The Court, in pursuance of the powers vested in it by Section 483 of 57 and 58 Vict. C. 60, orders that the sum of £6 4s., being the costs of the proceedings before the same Court, be paid by the master of the s.s. "Egremont Castle," being one of the parties thereto, and he is hereby ordered to pay the said amount accordingly.
The expenses of this Court fixed at £6 4s. are approved.
Dated at Manila this 29th day of July, 1925.
H.B.M. Consul-General, President of Naval Court.
Master of the British s.s. "Glenshiel," official number 145439.
Member of Court.
T. S. MORGAN,
Master of the British s.s. "Silverpine," official number 147671.
Member of Court.
(Issued by the Board of Trade in London, on Wednesday, the 21st day of October, 1925.)
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