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Wreck Report for 'City of Manchester', 1885

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Unique ID:14905
Description:Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'City of Manchester', 1885
Creator:Board of Trade
Date:1885
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown

Transcription

(No. 2763.)

"CITY OF MANCHESTER" (S.S.)

The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876.

IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at Glasgow, on the 22nd day of December 1885, before THOMAS PATERSON MILLER and WILLIAM MACLEAN, Esquires, two of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Lanark, assisted by Captains WARD and HARLAND, Nautical Assessors, into the circumstances attending the stranding of the British steamship "CITY OF MANCHESTER," of Glasgow, off Ushant, France, on the 23rd day of November 1885.

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 when the vessel left Calcutta on 20th October 1885, she was in good and seaworthy condition; was provided with proper and sufficient compasses and with proper appliances to ascertain their deviation; that when she left Calcutta the compasses were in proper condition; that no measures were taken there, but proper measures were taken during the voyage, to ascertain and verify their deviation, which were duly applied to the courses; that when off Finisterre on 21st November it was not practicable to take measures to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel; that after passing that Cape safe and proper courses, according to the evidence, were set and steered, but as proved by the casualty were not made good; that no measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel at noon on 22nd November, the sun being obscured; that the alterations made in the course then and at 8 p.m. were safe, had they been made good; that a good and proper look-out was kept; that the total neglect of the use of the lead was not justifiable; that with this exception the vessel was navigated with proper and seamanlike care; that in the opinion of the Court the casualty was caused by the courses set not having been made good, probably owing to an indraught in crossing the Bay of Biscay; that the master only is in default, but in respect of his general care in the navigation of the vessel, his long services and good character, the Court do not deal with his certificate.

The Court makes no order as to costs.

Dated at Glasgow this 22nd day of December 1885.

 

(Signed)

T. P. MILLER, J.P.

WILLIAM MACLEAN, J.P.

We concur in the above report.

 

(Signed)

C. Y. WARD,

ROBERT HARLAND,

Assessors.

Annex to the Report.

The "City of Manchester," official number 68,050, was an iron screw steamer, built at Whiteinch, county of Lanark, and was registered at Glasgow as of 3,126 tons gross and 2,046.49 tons register, and was fitted with two compound-inverted direct-acting engines of 400 horse-power (combined). She was owned by Mr. George Smith, of Glasgow, and others, Mr. George Smith being the managing owner. She was commanded by Mr. Archibald Macdonald, who holds a certificate of competency as master, and had a crew of 57 hands all told. There were also four passengers on board.

The vessel left Calcutta on 20th October last, bound to London with a cargo of about 3,400 tons of general cargo, drawing 22 feet 10 inches aft and 22 feet 5 inches forward, and it appears she was in good order and well found in every respect. There were six compasses on board, one on the mizen mast (which was a wooden one and fitted with hemp rigging) forty feet above the deck, one standard compass on the fore part of the bridge, one in the wheel house, ore aft, and two spare. The deviations of the compasses were ascertained from time to time, when at sea, from azimuthal observations. After passing through the Suez Canal, coal was taken on board at Port Said, and she left that port on the 11th November. At noon on the twenty-first, the vessel was in latitude 41° 57' north and longitude 9° 57' west by observation. At 4 p.m. she was off Cape Finisterre. at an estimated distance of thirty to thirty-two miles. At noon on the 22nd the sun was obscured, the latitude by account was 46° 8' north, longitude by chronometer (worked by latitude by account) was 8° 30' west, which agreed with the longitude by account within two miles. From this position a north 63° east course (magnetic) was steered till 8 p.m. The weather was slightly hazy, with a light haze at north-north-west to west-northwest, and a swell from the westward. The engines were at full speed, the vessel making eleven knots an hour. At 8 p.m. the course was altered to north 60° east and continued till the time of the casualty. The weather remained hazy with slight showers throughout the night, but the master, who was frequently on deck between 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. on the twenty-third, and continuously so after 2 a.m., considered he could see for a distance of 8 miles, and calculated that at two o'clock Ushant was forty-three miles distant. The man on the look-out stated that he saw a red light a little on the starboard bow at about 2.45 a.m. which he reported, but the master and second mate, who were on the bridge, denied having heard the report, nor did they see any light. At about 3 a.m. broken water was seen simultaneously by the master and second mate on the starboard bow, the helm was put hard-to-starboard and the engines were reversed, but a minute or so afterwards, before the vessel's way was stopped, she struck the ground and remained fast. The boats were launched and the crew and passengers got into them. The vessel quickly filled with water, and about twenty minutes after striking slipped off and sunk, the lower yards being level with the water. The boats remained in the vicinity until daylight, when it was discovered the vessel had struck on Melmeur. The crew landed-some on Ushant, some on the Ile de Molene.

The Court attributes the casualty to an indraught after passing Finisterre, which the master was not aware of, but which he would probably have discovered had he had an observation at noon on the twenty-second, and blames him for not having worked out his position by Sumner's method when he failed in getting a meridian altitude. He, as the Court finds is too often the case, relying on his knowledge of the locality, having so frequently passed and being over confident of the accuracy of his supposed position, omitted to use means at his disposal to verify it. The weather was evidently more hazy than he supposed, or he must have seen the light on Ushant. On review of the case, seeing that the master was not absent from his post, and that his owner gave such a favourable testimony as to his character and antecedents, the Court was not disposed to deal with his certificate.

At the conclusion of the evidence Mr. Fyfe, on the part of the Board of Trade, submitted the following questions for the opinion of the Court, which are answered in the report, and intimated that, in the opinion of the Board, the certificate of the master should be dealt with:-

1. Whether, when the vessel left Calcutta on 20th October 1885, she was in good and seaworthy condition, and, in particular, whether she was provided with proper and sufficient compasses and with proper appliances to ascertain their deviation?

2. Whether when she left Calcutta the compasses were in proper condition, and whether measures were taken then and during the voyage to ascertain and verify their deviation, and whether the proper corrections were applied to the courses?

3. Whether when off Finisterre on the afternoon of 21st November 1885, proper measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel?

4. Whether after passing Cape Finisterre safe and proper courses were set and steered, and whether due and proper allowance was made for leeway, tide, and currents?

5. Whether proper measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel at noon on 22nd November, and from time to time thereafter?

6. Whether safe and proper alterations were made in the course at noon, and again at 8 p.m. on the 22nd November, and whether due and proper allowance was made for leeway, tide, and currents?

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

8. Whether the total neglect of the use of the lead was justifiable?

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

10. What was the cause of the casualty?

12. Whether the master and officers are, or any of them is, in default?

 

(Signed)

WILLIAM MACLEAN, J.P.

T. P. MILLER, J.P.

We concur.

 

(Signed)

C. Y. WARD.

ROBERT HARLAND.

L 367. 2541. 180.-12/85. Wt. 408. E. & S.

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