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Wreck Report for 'Inishtrahull', 1895

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Unique ID:16656
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Inishtrahull', 1895
Creator:Board of Trade
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown


(No. 5108.)


The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1887.

IN the matter of a formal Investigation held in the Debts Recovery Court, Glasgow, on the 27th and 28th days of February 1895, before JOHN BLACK LESLIE BIRNIE, Esquire, Advocate Sheriff-Substitute of Lanarkshire, assisted by Captains J. S. CASTLE and T. T. EDWARDS, into the circumstances attending the supposed loss of the British steamship "INISHTRAHULL," of Glasgow, which has not been heard of since leaving Glasgow for Limerick on 27th December 1894.

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 during the 28th and 29th December 1894 a very heavy westerly gale was prevailing on the west coast of Ireland, with a high sea, and that in this gale the vessel most probably foundered, but that from what cause there is no evidence to show.

Dated this 28th day of February 1895.



J. B. L. BIRNIE, Judge.

We concur in the above report.









Annex to the Report.

This inquiry was held at the Debts Recovery Court, Glasgow, on the 27th and 28th days of February 1895, when Mr. D. Macniven, writer, represented the Board of Trade, and Mr. J. A. Roxburgh, writer, of Glasgow, appeared for the owners.

The "Inishtrahull" was a British steam vessel built of steel by Dr. W. Henderson and Co., at Patrick, county of Lanark, in 1885, her official number being 90,067, and her dimensions being as follows:—Length, 231.1 ft., breadth 33.1 ft., and depth of hold 15.1 ft., her tonnage being 1,006.56 tons, and after deducting 553.14 tons for propelling space, her net registered tonnage was 483.42 tons. She was schooner-rigged, and was fitted with three triple-expansion engines of 240 horse-power combined, and at the time of her loss she was owned by the Clyde Shipping Co., Limited. of 21, Carlton Place, Glasgow, Mr. James Cuthbert, of the above address, being the managing owner.

The "Inishtrahull" left Glasgow on the 27th of December 1894, with a cargo of 645 tons of coal and 100 tons of bunker coal, bound for Limerick, her mean draught of water being about 15 ft. 6 in., but the evidence is not very clear on this point. She was' commanded by Mr. Thomas Whipp, who held a certificate of competency, numbered 02,073, and had a crew of 25 hands, viz., master, two mates, carpenter, eight able seamen, two engineers, eight firemen, one steward, one cook, and one stewardess.

At the time of sailing the vessel appears to have been in good condition and well equipped for the trade in which was employed. She had four boats, two of them being lifeboats, and two cutters, and she was supplied with all life-saving appliances, as required by statute.

She had six iron bulkheads, which extended to the main deck, and three cargo hatchways of the following dimensions:—No. 1, 11 ft. 6 in. by 10 ft.; No. 2, 13 ft. 6 in. by 10 ft.; No. 3, 10 ft. by 9 ft. 6 in.; the coamings were made of American elm, and they were 21 in. high, each hatchway being fitted with one fore and after, and they were covered with carling hatches and three sets of tarpaulins, which could be secured in the usual manner with battens and cleats. The engine-room was protected by an iron trunk bulkhead, which extended from the main deck to 6 ft. 4 in. above the awning deck, the entrance to engine-room and stokehole being through doors on each side of the bulkhead on the main deck, and the same from the upper deck. The fiddly gratings were 4 ft. 6 in. above the awning deck, and they could be safely secured with tarpaulin.

She was a spar-decked ship, and she was fitted with four water-ballast tanks of following capacity:—No. 1, 75 tons; No. 2, 100 tons; No. 3, 60 tons; and No. 4, 120 tons. These tanks varied in depth from 3 ft. amidships to 6 ft. in the ends of the vessel, and although there is no direct evidence as to whether these tanks were full or the reverse, the probabilities are that they were empty.

There is evidence before the Court showing that in October 1892, whilst on a voyage from Glasgow to Cork with a cargo of about 100 tons of coal and 150 tons of general cargo, the ship having met with heavy weather, she shifted her cargo and arrived at the latter port with a heavy list.

From the date of sailing the "Inishtrahull" has not been seen or heard of. Portions of wreckage, however, which have been identified as belonging to her have been picked up near Kilkee, and in all probability she foundered somewhere near that locality in the heavy weather which prevailed on that part of the coast on the 28th and 29th of December last. Witnesses have been produced from the various collieries, and they have told the Court that the coal was not likely to give off gas sufficient to cause an explosion, and we are of opinion that there was not sufficient time for spontaneous combustion to take place.

The Board of Trade desire the opinion of the Court upon the following questions:—


1. Whether, when the vessel left Glasgow, she was in good and seaworthy condition in regard to her hull and equipments?

2. Whether the ventilators were properly constructed, were they placed in a sheltered position, and were proper coverings supplied for use in bad weather?

3. Whether the hatchways and all other deck openings were properly covered, and whether they could be effectually secured in heavy weather?

4. Whether the cargo was properly stowed, well trimmed and secured for shifting?

5. Whether shifting boards were fitted, and if not, whether in the opinion of the Court shifting boards should have been fitted in each compartment where coal was carried?

6. Whether as laden the vessel had sufficient stability?

7. What, in the opinion of the Court, from the evidence before them, is the cause of this vessel not having been heard of since she left Glasgow on the 27th December last

8. What, in the opinion of the Court, was the value of the vessel to her owners, and for what amount was she insured?

9. What was the value of the freight, and for what amount was it insured?

Answers by the Court.

1. When the vessel left Glasgow she was in a good and seaworthy condition.

2. The ventilators were properly constructed and properly placed, being fitted with wooden plugs, and tarpaulins could be properly secured in bad weather.

3. The hatchways were properly covered, being supplied with tarpaulins and other requisites for securing them in bad weather.

4. The cargo was properly stowed.

5. Shifting boards were not fitted. There can be no doubt shifting boards would have added to the security of the vessel, but the Court is not prepared to recommend that all vessels employed in the coasting trade should have them.

6. The vessel as laden had sufficient stability.

7. It appears that during the 28th and 29th of December last a very heavy westerly gale was prevailing on the west coast of Ireland, with a high sea, and in the gale the vessel most probably foundered, but from what cause there is no evidence to show.

8. The ship was valued by the managing owner at 12,500l., and was uninsured.

9. Freight was valued at 300l., and this was also uninsured.



J. B. L. BIRNIE, Judge.

We concur.









Glasgow, 28th February 1895.

81564—231. 180.—8/95. Wt. 60. E. & S.


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