Portcities Southampton
UK * Bristol * Hartlepool * Liverpool * London * Southampton
*
You are here: PortCities Southampton > [14955] 'Flower of the Fleet'
* Text only * About this site * Site Map * Feedback
*
*
*
Explore this site
Start Here
About Us
Partners And Collections
Timeline
Get Interactive!
Help
Galleries
Image galleries
Biographies
Southampton
The Docks
River Itchen
Southampton at war
Flying Boats
Titanic
Finding Out More
Southampton speaks
Street Directories
Historic Buildings Survey
Registers and Records
Lloyd's Register
Official Sources
Other Records
Finding Out More
Wrecks and Accidents
Why accidents happen
Investigations
Improving Safety at Sea
Finding Out More
Wreck Reports
Life of a Port
How a port comes to life
At work in a port
Ports at play
Trade - lifeblood of a port
Finding Out More
On the Line
Company growth and development
Shipping lines
Transatlantic travel
Preparing a liner
Finding Out More
Sea People
Life at sea
Jobs at sea
Travelling by sea
Starting a new life by sea
Women and the sea
Finding Out More
Diversity of Ships
The variety of ships
What drives the ship?
Ships of ancient times
Ships in the age of sail
Ships of the steam age
Ships of today

Wreck Report for 'Flower of the Fleet', 1885

PDF file

This resource is available to view as a PDF document.

Click here to view 'Wreck Report for 'Flower of the Fleet', 1885'.

You will need a PDF viewer to view this document. Tell me more...

Unique ID:14955
Description:Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'Flower of the Fleet', 1885
Creator:Board of Trade
Date:1885
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown

Transcription

(No. 2626.)

"FLOWER OF THE FLEET."

The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876.

IN the matter of the formal Investigation held at Yarmouth, on the 31st of July 1885, before H. C. ROTHERY, Esquire, Wreck Commissioner, assisted by Captain PARISH and Captain VAUX, as Assessors, into the circumstances attending the stranding and loss of the sailing ship "FLOWER OF THE FLEET," on Juist Reef, off the Coast of Holland, on the 25th of June 1885.

Report of Court.

The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances of the above-mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons annexed, that the stranding and loss of the said ship was due to the wrongful acts and defaults of Joseph Celver, the master. The Court accordingly suspends his certificate for nine months.

The Court is not asked to make any order as to costs.

Dated this 31st day of July 1885.

 

(Signed)

H. C. ROTHERY,

Wreck Commissioner.

We concur in the above report.

 

(Signed)

ALFRED PARISH,

C. VAUX,

Assessors.

Annex to the Report.

This case was heard at Yarmouth on the 31st of July 1885, when Mr. Marsden appeared for the Board of Trade and Mr. Rayson for the owner of the "Flower of the Fleet." The master of the vessel was present, but was not represented by either counsel or solicitor. Five witnesses having been produced by the Board of Trade and examined, Mr. Marsden handed in a statement of the questions upon which the Board of Trade desired the opinion of the Court. Mr. Rayson then addressed the Court on behalf of the owner, the master was heard on his own behalf, and Mr. Marsden having replied for the Board of Trade, the Court proceeded to give judgment on the questions on which its opinion had been asked. The circumstances of the case are as follow:—

The "Flower of the Fleet," which was a dandy-rigged smack, belonging to the Port of Yarmouth, of 50 tons gross and register, was built at Cobholm Island, in the county of Suffolk, in the year 1875, and at the time of her loss was the property of William Henry Makepeace, of Yarmouth, smack owner, who was likewise the managing owner. She loft Yarmouth on the 16th of June last, having a crew of 7 hands all told, and the master's nephew on board, with directions to join the fleet which was fishing in the North Sea. After joining the fleet she continued with it until about 10 p.m. of the 23rd, when she sailed away in company with another smack called the "Ocean Ranger" for the purpose of fishing on her own account. At about 10 a.m. the next day they cast their trawls, and continued fishing till about 7 p.m., when the nets were hauled; but at 10 p.m. the nets were again cast, and at the same time a cast of the lead was taken, which gave them 13 fathoms, from which the master assumed that they were off Norderney. At this time the weather was hazy, with a light breeze from the S.E., and the vessel was kept close hauled on the port tack, heading about south until between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. of the 25th, when the nets were hauled in, and another cast of the lead was taken, which gave them 9 fathoms. From this time she stood on with her head somewhere to the southward and westward, but on what precise course, if any, it is impossible to say, until about 8.30 a.m., when the master took another cast of the lead, which gave him five fathoms; upon which he ran to the wheel, but before he could get her head round, she struck on what was afterwards found to be the Juist Reef at the entrance to the River Ems. It was then about the top of high water, and although the "Ocean Ranger" came to her assistance, and attempted to tow her off, all their efforts proved in vain, and the vessel became a total wreck.

These being the facts of the case, the first question with which I propose to deal is, "Whether the master " was justified in leaving the fishing fleet?" The master has told us that he had orders from the owner to join the fleet and to remain with it; he was therefore not justified in leaving it as he did.

The next question is, "Were proper steps taken to " ascertain the vessel's position at any time after " leaving the fleet?" The master seems to have been all along in some doubt as to where he was. A cast of the lead was taken at about 10 p.m. of the 24th, which gave them 13 fathoms, and from which the master supposed that they were off Norderney, but why, he was not able to say. From that time the vessel stood on with her head to the southward close hauled on the port tack until between 4 and 5 the next morning, when another cast was taken, which gave 9 fathoms. After that she lay with her head somewhere to the southward and westward, but so far as appears on no particular course, and it was not until about 8.30 a.m., and just before they struck, that a third cast was taken which gave them only 5 fathoms. In our opinion this was not sufficient, and seeing that between 10 p.m. and 4 or 5 the following morning she was found to have shoaled her water from 13 to 9 fathoms, she ought not to have been kept from that time until about 8.30 a.m. standing on with her head towards the shore without taking steps by frequent casts of the lead to ascertain her true position, and to see that she did not get ashore.

The next question is, "Whether a proper course was " set and steered after hauling the trawl on the morn- " ing of the 25th of June?" I have stated that, after hauling in their trawl, the master ordered the vessel to be kept on a S.W. course, but he took no trouble to see whether that course was steered or not; and from the evidence of one of the other witnesses it is doubtful whether she was not still kept close hauled to the wind on the port tack, and on the same course on which she was whilst her trawl was down. But whatever the course may have been, it is clear from the fact of her shoaling her water, first from 13 to 9 fathoms, and ultimately to five fathoms, that she was kept heading for the shore, which was certainly not a proper course.

We are next asked, "Whether a proper use was made " of the lead, and whether a proper look-out was kept?" It does not appear that any special look-out was set, although they were all on deck; but even if there had been it would have been of very little use, for the weather was so hazy that it was not until 5 hours after they had grounded that they were able to see the shore, and the only means which they had of ascertaining their position was by taking frequent casts of the lead, and that they neglected to do.

I will now take the first question, which is, "What " was the cause of the stranding of the vessel?" The cause of the stranding of the vessel was that the master kept her on a course heading towards the shore until she struck on the Juist Reef.

We are next asked, "Whether there was drink pro- " cured from the köper on board the vessel on the day " the ship went ashore, or the day before?" and, "Were all hands sober?" The master has told us that on the morning that the vessel went ashore he boarded a köper, and gave the master about half a case of small plaice in return for a bottle of rum and half a pound of tobacco, which, he said, he divided amongst his crew. It was an unjustifiable proceeding thus to take his owner's property to buy spirits and tobacco with. Whether or not it had anything to do with the stranding it is impossible to say; there is, however, nothing to shew that any of them were the worse for liquor.

The next question which we are asked is, "What was " the cost of the vessel to the owner?" "What was " her value when she sailed from Yarmouth?" and "What insurance was there on the vessel?" Mr. Makepeace, the owner, has told us that he bought her in 1882, and that he then gave 850l. for her. lie told us also that in the course of last year she was dismasted, and that he had then spent 250l. upon her for repairs, and 100l. more just before she left on her last voyage in providing her with some new sails and new nets. In the owner's opinion she was, when she last left Yarmouth, worth from 1,000l. to 1,100l.; but the assessors think that 1,000l. would have been a full value for her at that time. It seems, however, that she was, at the time of her loss, insured for only 800l. in a mutual club called the Short Blue Club.

Lastly, it is said that the Board of Trade are of opinion that "the certificate of the master should be " dealt with." It appears to us that the master has in this case been guilty of a number of very grave faults, which have led to the loss of this vessel. In the first place he is to blame for having left the fleet, when the orders from the owner were that he was to remain with it. Secondly, he is to blame for having taken a portion of his owner's property and applied it to the purchase of liquor and tobacco. And, thirdly, he is to blame for having put the vessel on a course heading for the land, although he knew that he was shoaling his water, and without taking any precautions to see that she did not get too near the shore. Mr. Rayson, who has appeared for the owner, has asked us to suspend his certificate for as long a period as possible; and although we are not prepared to go quite so far as that, we think that we should not be doing our duty if we did not punish him severely, and we shall therefore suspend his certificate for nine months.

 

(Signed)

H. C. ROTHERY,

Wreck Commissioner.

We concur.

 

(Signed)

ALFRED PARISH,

C. VAUX,

Assessors.

L 367. 2403. 180.—8/85. Wt. 408. E. & S.

*
Search

Advanced Search
*
*
*
Southampton City Council New Opportunities Fund Lloyd's Register London Metropolitan Archives National Maritime Museum World Ship Society  
Legal & Copyright * Partner sites: Bristol * Hartlepool * Liverpool * London * Southampton * Text only * About this site * Feedback