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Wreck Report for 'Andola', 1895

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Unique ID:16668
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Andola', 1895
Creator:Board of Trade
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown


(No. 5095.)


The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1887.

IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at the Magistrates' Room, Liverpool, on the 25th, 26th, and 27th days of February 1895, before W. J. STEWART, Esquire, assisted by Captain RICHARDSON and Captain HUGHES, into the circumstances attending the stranding and subsequent loss of the "ANDOLA," a British sailing ship of Liverpool, on or near the Manacles Rocks, on January 30th 1895.

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 stranding and subsequent loss of the said vessel were due to the careless navigation of the master, Mr. William Passmore, whose certificate, numbered 016,542, the Court suspends for a period of three months from the date hereof.

Dated this 27th day of February 1895.



W. J. STEWART, Judge.

We concur in the above report.









Annex to the Report.

The "Andola," official number 93,699, was a British sailing ship of the port of Liverpool. She was built of iron in 1886 at Liverpool. Her length was 275.6 ft., her breadth 40.75 ft., and her depth 24.4 ft. Her registered tonnage was 1,965.67 tons. She was owned by Mr. Edmund Roberts, of 41, North John Street, Liverpool, and others, Mr. Roberts being registered as her managing owner.

The "Andola" left Tacoma on August 9th, 1894, for Falmouth for orders, with a cargo of 3,100 tons of wheat and a crew of 29 hands all told. She arrived off Falmouth on January 29th, 1895, and receiving orders to proceed to Hull, she left Falmouth between 4 and 5 p.m. on the same day. At that time the weather, which had been rainy, was inclined to clear, the wind going to the northward. Later on the wind changed, and after the vessel had been twice taken aback with squalls, the master determined about 8 p.m. to stand out to sea on the port tack. The vessel was kept on the same tack during the night, which was squally, with showers of snow and sleet, the wind blowing from S.S.E. to S.S.W.

About 9 a.m. on 30th January the vessel was put about on the starboard tack, heading from N. to N.N.E. The master reckoned that the vessel was making a course a little to the east of north, independent of the tide which, when it flowed later on in the day, would take his vessel to the eastward. No land could be seen. At noon a meridian altitude was obtained, and the latitude ascertained to be 49° 34 N. The vessel was kept on the same tack, the wind varying from E. to E.N.E. and squally. The vessel carried her foresail, jibs, foretopmast staysail, three lower topsails, reefed upper topsails, maintopmast staysail, and main-trysail. About 2 p.m. the master saw the loom of the land to the N.W., and away on the port bow. He assumed the land to be about the Lizard, and it appeared to be about 26 or 27 miles distant. The vessel was going at 3 to 3 1/2 knots, The hand log was used every two hours, but the patent log, though it was left overboard, afforded no satisfactory evidence of the distance run, owing to the low speed of the vessel. The master expected to make the Eddystone Light on this course, but about 5 p.m. a light was seen on the port bow, which the master knew to be the Lizard Lights, and which he judged to be 15 or 16 miles distant. The master stated to the Court that the light at this time bore N.W., or, if anything, a little to the N. of N.W. by the standard compass, and that he at once laid down the position of the vessel on the chart. The vessel was kept close to the wind. still on the starboard tack, and about 7 p.m. another bearing was taken of the Lizard Lights, which, according to the master, bore N.N.W. by the standard compass. The two lights of the Lizard were still open of each other, and the master assumed that he was still to the southward of the line in which the two lights are brought into line. It is to be noted, however, that from 5 p.m. there had been frequent showers of snow, which at times completely obscured the lights, and it is possible therefore that the vessel passed the line in which the two lights are in one while the lights were obscured, and that when they were next seen they were still open of each other, and afforded no indication that the line had been crossed. While the master was in the chart-room laying off her last bearing, the mate came to him and reported that a bell was heard. This bell had been heard previously by the look-out, who at once reported it, but received no reply. As, according to this witness, it was no unusual thing on board the ship to receive no reply to a report, he waited a little and then reported the bell again, which he recognised as the bell of a buoy on the starboard bow. The report was repeated by a man from amidships, and a reply was received from the poop. The master, on hearing from the mate that a bell had been heard, came out of his chart-room, and finding from the tone of the bell that it was not a ship's bell, determined to wear ship, a manœuvre which, previous to his going into the chart-room, he had ordered the mate to prepare for. The helm was put hard up, but the vessel refused to answer her helm, probably owing to some streak of tide, and also to her dirty bottom, and she proceeded on before the wind for some 10 or 15 minutes, during which she must have gone from one to two knots, when she struck amidships and then glided off, only to strike on the rocks further on. Two anchors were let go, but she dragged over the rocks, and kept striking heavily. The master then first obtained a clear sight of land, and also saw rocks all around the vessel, on the starboard side, and found that the vessel had gone ashore on the Manacles Point. The vessel was sounded, and as 3 1/2 feet of water were found, and she was bumping heavily, the boats were put out, into which the crew got, the master and second officer being taken off by the National lifeboat, which had been attracted by the signals of distress, and all were safely landed at Port Houstock. The vessel became a total loss.

The fact that the vessel struck when and where she did is sufficient evidence that positions given by the master of the vessel at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. could not possibly have been the true positions. The master stated that the deviation on the standard compass was 13° E., and that a bearing of N.W. would be equivalent to N.W. by N. 1/4 N. magnetic, and a bearing of W.N.W. to N.W. 3/4 W. magnetic. it is quite impossible for these bearings to have been obtained at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively, but the latter bearing of W.N.W. = N.W. 3/4 W. magnetic is one which might well have been obtained at 5 p.m. How the master came to make such an error, it is impossible to say; but in the absence of log-book, compass book, and charts, all of which were lost, the Court had no means of checking the accuracy of the master's statements, and the master had no means of refreshing his memory. But whether it was due to a grave miscalculation, or want of proper and careful observation, or to a lapse of memory, or a want of truthfulness in his evidence, the statement made by the master as to the bearing of the Lizard at 7 p.m. cannot be accepted by the Court, nor can the Court accept his suggestion that his compass played him false, for the evidence of the other witnesses seems effectually to negative such a suggestion.

The chief officer stated in examination in chief that at 5 p.m. the Lizard bore N.W. by W. by the standard compass, distant 10 to 12 miles, and that he had ascertained at 2 p.m. the same day, while the vessel was on the same course, that the total error was 16° W., which gave an easterly deviation of 3° 30' instead of 13° as given by the master. When the Court met the following day, the chief officer intimated that he wished to correct his statement, and to substitute 16° E. deviation for 16° of W. error. This substitution seemed much like an afterthought, and the Court have very little doubt that the first statement of the mate was the true one, because it placed the vessel in about the position which subsequent events showed she must have been in at 5 p.m. on the 13th. The second mate in his evidence afforded additional corroboration of the accuracy of the original statement of the chief officer, as he stated that from his own observation the total error of the compass on such a course was 18° westerly or 1° 30' easterly deviation. The master, on being recalled, stated that the ship was supplied with deviation cards, which were in her when he joined her in 1888, and that he had found them accurate except when he had been for some time in dock near iron vessels or iron cargoes. The Court were able to obtain from the adjusters a copy of the card, which showed that the compass had about 2° easterly deviation on the courses steered by the vessel on the afternoon of January 30th. It is also significant that some of the witnesses who saw the Lizard Light disappear shortly after 7 p.m., say that just before it was shut in, as they assert could plainly be seen by intervening high land, it was right abeam, or about due west. That this must have been so is clear, and such a fact, which ought to have been noted by the master, ought to have at once warned him that he was too far to the northward. The disappearance of the light, which was also another warning, does not appear to have been reported to the master, who was in his chart room, and only found it had disappeared when he came out on hearing the report of the bell. If the vessel had been weared as soon as the light was shut out, or as soon as the bell was first heard, she would probably have been saved. The Court is also of opinion that when the master found that the vessel would not answer her helm, but was running towards the danger at a greater speed, he ought to have brought her to and dropped his anchor instead of allowing her to run before the wind for 10 or 15 minutes.

Under all these circumstances the Court were unable to acquit the master of negligence, and with reluctance, owing to his excellent record, felt compelled to suspend his certificate.

At the conclusion of the evidence, Mr. Morton, for the Board of Trade, submitted the following questions:—

1. Whether proper measures were taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel on the 30th January, more especially at noon on that day? whether a safe and proper course was thereafter steered? and whether due and proper allowance was made for tide, currents, and leeway?

2. When were the Lizard Lights first sighted on the evening of the 30th January, whether proper measures were then and thereafter taken to ascertain and verify the ship's position?

3. When was the bell on the Manacles first heard and reported, and were prompt and proper measures then taken for the safety of the ship?

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

5. What was the cause of the casualty?

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

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

The Board of Trade are of opinion that the master's certificate should be dealt with.

Mr. Dickinson, for the master, having addressed the Court, the Court gave judgment as above, and returned the following answers to the questions of the Board of Trade:—

1. The only measures taken to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel on the 30th January were those taken at noon of that day, when the latitude was obtained by observation and the longitude by dead reckoning. A safe and proper course was steered up to 5 p.m. of that day, but not afterwards. Due and proper allowance seems to have been made for tides, currents, and leeway.

2. The Lizard Lights were first sighted on the evening of the 30th of January at about 5 p.m. Proper measures were neither then nor thereafter taken to ascertain and verify the ship's position.

3. The bell on the Manacles was first heard and reported about 7.30 p.m. Prompt and proper measures were not taken for the safety of the ship.

4. As long as the lights were in sight there was no need for the use of the lead.

5. The casualty was due to a grave error on the part of the master in the bearings taken by him, coupled with a want of proper attention and care in observing the bearings of the Lizard Lights as he approached the land.

6. After 5 p.m. on the 30th of January the vessel was not navigated with proper and seamanlike care.

7. The master alone is in default.

The Court suspends the master's certificate, but, having regard to his previous record, only for a period of three months.

At the request of the master, the Court consents to recommend the Board of Trade to grant him a certificate as first mate during the period of his suspension.



W. J. STEWART, Judge.

We concur in the above report.









Liverpool, 28th February 1895.

81564—217. 180.—3/95. Wt. 60. E. & S.


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