Portcities Southampton
UK * Bristol * Hartlepool * Liverpool * London * Southampton
*
You are here: PortCities Southampton > [15067] 'Talca', 1885
* 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 'Talca', 1885

PDF file

This resource is available to view as a PDF document.

Click here to view 'Wreck Report for 'Talca', 1885'.

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

Unique ID:15067
Description:Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'Talca', 1885
Creator:Board of Trade
Date:1885
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown

Transcription

(No. 2621.)

"TALCA."

The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876.

IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at the Town Hall, Swansea, on the 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st days of July 1885, before J. C. FOWLER, Esquire, Stipendiary Magistrate for the Borough of Swansea, assisted by Captains PARFITT and BEASLEY, into the circumstances attending the supposed loss of the British sailing ship "TALCA," of Swansea, which has not been heard of since she left Swansea for Cape Town on or about the 18th day of November 1884.

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 vessel most probably foundered. From the evidence adduced, the Court finds it impossible to arrive at a more positive conclusion. The Court is not asked to make any order as to costs.

Dated this 31st day of July 1885.

 

(Signed)

JNO. COKE FOWLER, Judge.

We concur in the above report.

 

(Signed)

WM. PARFITT,

Assessors.

 

 

THS. BEASLEY,

 

Annex to Report.

The "Talca" was an iron sailing vessel, barque-rigged; official number, 50,438; built at Cardiff in the year 1866, by Messrs. Batchelor Bros., her gross tonnage being 439.53, and her under-deck tonnage 424.89. Her dimensions were-length 142.5, breadth 26.6, depth of hold 16.8. She was classed in the highest class at Lloyd's, and was designed for the purpose of carrying copper ore. She was originally owned by Messrs. Cory Bros. of Cardiff, and in the year 1874 was sold to other owners, one of whom, Mr. George Blaney Meager, who held 12-64 shares, was the managing owner, and at that time about 7,000l. was paid for her. Subsequently, in the year 1879, Captain Tulloch, of Swansea, purchased 20 sixty-fourth shares in her (the estimated value of the vessel then being 3,300l.), and he then became the managing owner, continuing as such up to the time of her last voyage. Whilst under this management she appears to have made the following voyages and carried the following cargoes:-

Dec.

1881.-S. America to Swansea; 650 tons copper ore.

June

1882.-Swansea to S. America; 250 tons patent fuel, 244 tons coke.

Oct.

"

S. America to Swansea; copper ore (no record).

Dec.

"

Swansea to S. America; 233 tons small coal, 215 tons coke.

March

1883.-S. America to Swansea; 644 tons copper ore.

April

"

Swansea to S. America; 323 tons small coal, 189 tons coke.

Aug.

"

A. America to Swansea;

646

tons copper ore.

Sept.

"

Swansea to Cape Town;

659

tons steam coal.

March

1884.-Cape Town to Swansea;

648

tons copper ore.

April

"

Swansea to Cape Town;

663

tons steam coal.

Nov.

"

Cape Town to Swansea;

669

tons copper ore.

Nov.

18th.-Swansea to Cape Town;

664

tons steam coal.

On the 18th November 1884 she sailed from Swansea with a crew of 12 hands all told, of whom Mr. Walter Lloyd was master. He held a certificate of competency as such, and had been in Captain Tulloch's employ for 15 years, the last two of which he served as master of the "Talca." Her draught of water on leaving Swansea was 16 ft. 6 in. aft and 15 ft. 6 in. forward, and the centre of the disc on her side, which was placed 3 feet below the deck, was just awash. She proceeded in charge of a pilot till outside the Mumbles, When he left her, and from that time she has neither been seen or heard of. The weather at the time of her sailing was fine, with a fair wind from the north-east, and it continued so at Swansea for eight or nine days. Another vessel, the "Escambia," sailed the following tide, also bound for Cape Town, and one of her crew, an A.B. named Rerécich, gave evidence that they had fine weather and fair winds until the 26th November, when they encountered a furious gale of wind and very heavy sea, being then about 600 miles distant from the Azores. All the witnesses describe the "Talca" to have been a vessel particularly strongly built and well fitted and found. She was amply supplied with boats, her pumps were of good quality, and she was absolutely tight, making no water whatever. There was a discrepancy in the evidence as to the carrying capacity and stability. On the one hand, Mr. Batchelor, who built her 19 years ago, stated that she was an unusually tender vessel, in danger of capsizing with 225 tons weight in her, and that, in his opinion, 575 tons was a full cargo for her. On the other hand, Captain Tulloch, the present managing owner and a shipmaster of many years experience, as well as Captain Rees, the ship's husband, and also the Board of Trade and Lloyd's surveyors for the Port of Swansea, and the proprietor of the dry dock in which she had been seen when dry by all the foregoing persons-all agreed that no complaints had ever come to their knowledge of any want of stability or any other defect connected with the vessel, and they stated that, in their opinion, there was nothing in her model calculated to render her unusually tender. The cargo with which she last sailed from Swansea consisted of steam coal confessedly of an explosive nature. The precautions usually adopted at the South Wales ports for ventilating the holds of vessels laden with this coal were taken on this occasion, and the ventilators were enlarged in accordance with the suggestion made by the Board of Trade surveyor. The cargo was trimmed by the usual stevedore, and although not levelled throughout the hold so as to leave a vacant space for surface ventilation extending fore and aft from side to side, there was in each wing a space below the beams large enough for a man to crawl through. In the main hatch, for a space of some 20 feet fore and aft, the coal reached up to the deck amidships, but at each end of the hold the top of the cargo was clear of the beams throughout. The bulk of the coal was shipped very soon after it left the pit. It was shipped in fine weather, and the hatches were closed down and secured the night before the vessel sailed.

In the course of the inquiry it transpired that Captain Tulloch is also managing owner of several other vessels engaged in the same trade as the "Talca" had been for years past, and that except in the present instance there had not been any disaster.

On the conclusion of the evidence, Mr. Ravenhill asked the following questions:-

1. Whether the vessel when she left Swansea was in all respect in good and seaworthy condition?

2. Whether the load line disc was so placed as to give the vessel sufficient free board?

3. Whether the holds were properly ventilated so that independently of the hatchways a system of surface ventilation was provided which would be effective in all circumstances of weather?

4. Whether the ventilators, hatchways, and all other deck openings were properly and sufficiently constructed and secured, and whether adequate provision was made for keeping water out of the ship in the event of the cowls or tubes of the ventilators being carried away?

5. Whether the cargo was properly trimmed and stowed, and whether in the trimming of the cargo an efficient system of ventilation was preserved?

6. Whether the vessel was overladen?

7. Whether as laden she had sufficient stability?

8. What was the cost of the vessel to her owners?

9. What was her value at the time she left on her last voyage?

10. What were the insurances effected and how were they apportioned?

11. What, in the opinion of the Court, from the evidence before them, is the cause of the vessel never having been heard of since the pilot left her in the Mumbles on 18th November last?

The Court, in giving judgment, answered the questions as follows:

1. The vessel when she left Swansea was in all respect in good and seaworthy condition.

2. Prior to the last voyage the surveyor of the Board of Trade made a suggestion that the disc should be slightly lowered, and that advice was at once complied with, the result being a freeboard which, in the opinion of the surveyors to the Board of Trade and Lloyd's, was sufficient.

3. Two ventilators (with cowls) of somewhat increased diameter were fixed fore and aft prior to the last voyage. The cargo of coal was so trimmed that a man could crawl over it from one end to the other on the wings. Under the main hatch it seems to have retained a pyramidical form, but no complete obstacle or block impeded the flow of air from end to end.

4. The Court is satisfied from the evidence that the ventilators, hatchways, and all other deck openings were properly and sufficiently constructed and secured, and it was shewn that plugs were kept for insertion into the sockets of the ventilators, in the event of the cowls or tubes being carried away.

5. The cargo was properly trimmed and stowed, preserving an efficient system of ventilation, subject to the high elevation of the coal under the main hatch on which an observation has been made.

6. In the opinions of the surveyors of the Board of Trade and Lloyd's, the vessel was not overladen.

7. No plans have been submitted to the Court as the basis on which to form an opinion whether, as laden, the vessel had sufficient stability. It appeared, however, that Lloyd's surveyor considered that she ought to have 300 tons of ballast to go to sea with safety under all conditions; and being laden on her last voyage with a homogeneous cargo, the bulk of which amidships was close up to the deck, she would naturally have only a small margin of stability.

8. The Court has not sufficient evidence to state what was the cost of the vessel to her owners, but one former owner appears to have bought her for about 6,400l.

9. Her value at the time she left on her last voyage was, according to the evidence of the managing owner, stated as being in his opinion about 3,200l.

10. The total insurances collectively amounted to 2,850l., the insurance on freight being 643l. 10s.

11. The Court has considered carefully whether the circumstances brought out by evidence lead to the fair inference that the vessel was lost owing to any one particular cause. It puts aside the theory of spontaneous combustion, and there is nothing before it to indicate that a sudden leak was likely to have occurred. Then as to attributing the loss to an explosion; there was no doubt a cargo capable of causing an explosion, but seeing that all the usual means were adopted to carry off gas and avoid explosion, the Court does not feel justified in drawing the inference that explosion was the cause of the casualty, though it is one of the conjectures which may be entertained. Lastly, in view of a violent gale, to which, considering the date of her sailing, she must have been exposed, and the heavy cargo which she was carrying, the Court inclines more to the belief that she must probably foundered. It is impossible to arrive at a more positive conclusion.

The Court has exhausted every source of information which could throw light upon the loss of the "Talca" and her crew. The actual cause must remain a matter of conjecture. The ship was considered by the local officers of the Board of Trade and Lloyd's to be a strong good vessel, and the Court has been unable to put a finger upon any special fault or weakness, such as incompetency of officers, inadequacy of crew, leaks, or imperfect equipment, which would be likely to account for the loss. We have pointed out that the precautions officially recommended to be taken against explosion were duly provided. Nor would it be necessary to add a word to the answers above given to the questions put by the Board of Trade, were it not expedient to allude briefly to the evidence of Mr. Sidney Batchelor, of Cardiff-a witness called by Mr. Ravenhill, and whose firm built the "Talca" about nineteen years ago. He stated that they built her to a model which was not satisfactory to them, and that when completed she would not stand up without ballast, and that on one occasion with 225 tons of ballast in her she nearly capsized. In fact he led the Court to suppose that she was a badly constructed ship, having her centre of gravity too high. But their evidence must be taken in connection with all the rest that was adduced. We learned that the ship had been running long voyages from that time up to November 1884 free from casualties; that she was placed in the highest class at Lloyd's; purchased at a high price; that she satisfied the local officers of the Board of Trade, and was commanded by certificated officers, of whom the last (Captain Lloyd) had repeated his engagement in her. Also that she was chiefly owned by an experienced shipmaster, and by a shipbuilder of this port whose interests were not excessively insured, and that an experienced boatswain (now a police constable) who had made several voyages in her, apprenticed his own brother with the owners to sail in this vessel, in which he was ultimately lost.

Under these circumstances it would appear that though tender and unstable when empty, yet when duly and carefully laden the vessel was safe. But the assessors consider that when fully loaded with coal alone she would still have been a tender ship, that is, a ship of small stability, and therefore more liable to be laid on her beam ends by a press of canvas in a gale of wind than she would be when loaded with coal and coke above, or with copper ore lying lower than coal. Thus the whole of the circumstances have led us to conjecture strongly that the ship was lost by some of the perils of the sea during a violent gale, which it is pretty certain she encountered and not by an explosion of gas.

She had a freeboard variously stated at three feet and three feet one and a half inches, and this on the authority of the official witnesses is assumed to be sufficient.

The Court is advised that though upon such evidence no blame can be attached to the owners for sending her to sea with that freeboard, it would seem to be desirable that for full purely coal cargoes, in winter, more freeboard should be required.

Dated 31st day of July 1885.

 

(Signed)

JNO. COKE FOWLER, Judge.

We concur in the above.

 

(Signed)

WM. PARFITT,

Assessors.

 

 

THS. BEASLEY,

 

L 367. 2398. 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