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Wreck Report for 'Colina', 1885

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Unique ID:14912
Description:Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'Colina', 1885
Creator:Board of Trade
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown


(No. 2619.)


The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876.

IN the matter of a formal investigation held at Glasgow on the 28th and 29th days of July 1885, before JAMES DUNLOP and ANDREW S. MCCLELLAND, Esquires, two of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for Lanarkshire, assisted by Captains WILSON and ANDERSON, Nautical Assessors, into the circumstances attending the stranding of the British steamship "COLINA," of Glasgow, near Ushet Point, Rathlin Island, on the 27th day of June 1885.

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 "Colina" was stranded and materially damaged through the master not using the ordinary precautions for safe navigation-that there were four compasses on board, one on the bridge, one in the wheel-house under the bridge, one on the top of the saloon, and one in the after wheel-house-that the two latter were examined in June last-that on the voyage in question the master did not ascertain the deviation of his compasses by observation, but had done so on previous voyages, the deviation so found and allowed by him on the bridge compass being correct-that the watch consisted of seven hands, which were sufficient for the general duties and safe navigation of the vessel-that safe and proper courses were set and steered after passing Sanda, and due and proper allowance was made for tide and currents-that no measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel at 8 p.m. of 27th June, other than by estimating the distance off the Mull of Cantyre-that when the weather became thick the master was not justified in neglecting to reduce the speed of the vessel and in keeping her at full speed-that according to the evidence of the master and second officer, corroborated by an able seaman, two of the bars of the standard compass were reversed, which would account for the error-that this error being speedily rectified did not, in the opinion of the Court, contribute to the casualty-that a safe and proper course was set at about 9 p.m. but was not made good, inasmuch as sufficient allowance was not made for tide and currents-that a good and proper look-out was kept-that the total neglect of the lead was not justifiable-that the vessel was not navigated with proper and seamanlike care, and that the master only is in default for this casualty-for which default the Court adjudges the certificate of competency of Peter Ferguson Hume Hastie, No. 96,064, to be suspended, and the same is hereby suspended for six calendar months from this date.

The Court makes no order as to costs.

Given at Glasgow this 29th day of July 1885.





We concur in the above report.





Nautical Assessors.

Annex to the Report.

The "Colina" official number 68,022 is an iron screw steamer of 2,001.42 gross and 1,296.66 registered tonnage, and was built at Glasgow in the year 1873. She is fitted with two compound vertical direct-acting engines of 265 horses power combined, and at the time of the casualty which forms the subject of the present inquiry, she was owned by Mr. John Donaldson of Glasgow, and several others, the former gentleman being the managing owner. She was fitted with four compasses, and had four boats, two of which were life boats. In June last the "Colina" being in Glasgow took in about 1,300 tons of general cargo, and left that port at 11.30 a.m. of the 27th, bound for Montreal, with a crew of 38 hands all told, 16 cattlemen, and one cabin passenger, under the command of Peter F. H. Hastie, who holds a certificate of competency No. 96,064. The weather at the time of leaving was fine and clear. Her draught of water being 19 feet 4 inches forward and 20 feet aft. They proceeded down the Clyde in charge of a pilot and arrived off Greenock at 2.30 p.m., where the pilot was discharged, and they at once continued on their voyage. All went well, and at 7.30 they arrived off Sanda Island, the lighthouse of which was abeam distant two miles. The weather up to this time had been all that could have been desired, but was now becoming hazy; they continued steering along the land, and at 8.20 the high land of the Mull of Cantyre was abeam at an estimated distance of from one and a half to three miles. The weather was now becoming foggy, and at 8.30 a dense fog set in, whereupon a course N.W. by W. 1/2 W. was set by the bridge compass, which gave, according to the master's evidence, N.W. 1/4 N. correct magnetic. The tide at this time in the channel being about two-thirds flood, setting at the rate of from 3 to 4 miles per hour to the southward. At this time the master appears to have become anxious about his compasses and went to look at his standard, which he told us he usually navigated his vessel by, and to his surprise he found that compass pointing to the south-east; he at once ordered the second mate and an able seaman to unship it and bring it to the chart house, and upon examination he stated that he found the two magnetic bars on one side of the compass reversed; this he at once put right, and when this compass was again put in position it appears to have pointed correctly. The N.W. 1/4 N. course was continued, and the fog kept so dense that all the witnesses agree that they could not see more than a ship's length, yet notwithstanding this the vessel was kept at full speed, making about 9 knots per hour. The fog whistle appears to have been regularly attended to, and a man placed on the look-out forward, the fog signal at the Mull of Cantyre being plainly heard. The weather continued the same, densely thick, the full speed kept up until a few minutes before 10, when the look-out man reported breakers ahead, whereupon the engines were at once stopped and reversed, but before this had any effect the vessel struck and became fast upon what afterwards proved to be Ushet Point, Rathlin Island. The boats were ordered to be got ready, distress signals fired from the vessel, and it was not till they had been ashore for some twenty minutes that the fog signal on Rathlin Island was heard, and that very indistinctly. Soundings were taken round the vessel, and they found 13 feet forward and 22 feet aft. Every effort appears to have been made to get the vessel off by shifting the cargo from forward to aft by a passing steamer and by two powerful Greenock tugs, but all attempts were fruitless, and she commenced to make water and take a list to port. On the 30th a salvage party with tugs arrived at the wreck, and after jettisoning coals and discharging some of the general cargo they succeeded in getting the vessel off the rocks on the 8th July, when she was taken into Church Bay for temporary repairs and afterwards towed to Glasgow, where she arrived on the 10th, and placed in dry dock. Upon examination a great number of her plates and frames were found to be broken, and her butts all more or less strained. No lives were lost. The master stated in his opinion the ship should have been swung for adjustment before she left on this voyage, as it had not been done since 1883; but it appears that he made no such requisition to his owners or to the superintendent, and in fact took no steps himself to ascertain the state of his compasses after leaving, although he had ample opportunity of doing so. Keeping this in view the Court feel bound to say that the statement of the master appears to have been an after thought; but at the same time, bearing in mind that some repairs had been recently executed, and nearly two years had elapsed since the last adjustment, we consider that it would have been desirable had the ship been swung before she left Glasgow.

At the conclusion of the evidence Mr. MacLean, on the part of the Board of Trade, submitted the following questions for the opinion of the Court, which are answered in the report, vizt.:-

1. What was the cause of the stranding of the vessel?

2. What number of compasses had the vessel on board, and where were they placed?

3. When were they last examined, and their mechanical defects, if any, made good?

4. Did the master ascertain their deviation by observation from time to time?

5. Whether the errors of the compasses were correctly ascertained, and the proper corrections to the courses applied?

6. What was the number of seamen for each watch, and whether under the circumstances the watch was sufficient to keep a good look-out, to heave the lead, and do other things necessary to the safe navigation of the vessel?

7. Whether safe and proper courses were set and steered after passing Sanda about 7.20 p.m. of the 27th June, and whether due and proper allowance was made for tide and currents?

8. Whether proper measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel at 8 p.m.?

9. Whether when the weather became thick the master was justified in neglecting to reduce the speed of the vessel?

10. What was the cause of the error in the standard compass, and whether it contributed to the casualty?

11. Whether a safe and proper course was set and steered at or about 9 p.m., and whether due and proper allowance was made for tide and currents?

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

13. Whether the total neglect of the lead was justifiable?

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

And finally,

15. Whether the master and 2nd officer are, or either of them is, in default?

The Court made no order as to costs.

On the application of the master the Court unanimously agreed to recommend to the Board of Trade that he be allowed a mate's certificate during the suspension of his master's certificate.





We concur.






L 367. 2396. 180.-8/85. Wt. 408. E. & S.


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