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Wreck Report for 'Mark Lane', 1895

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Unique ID:16710
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Mark Lane', 1895
Creator:Board of Trade
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown


(No. 5159.)


The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894.

IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at Cardiff, on the 19th, 20th, and 21st days of June 1895, before THOMAS WILLIAM LEWIS, Esquire, Stipendiary Magistrate, assisted by Captain ERSKINE and Captain SAMUEL BROOKS, into the circumstances attending the stranding of the British steamship "MARK LANE," off Kile, Asia Minor, on the 29th March 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 was due to the insufficient allowance made by the master for the influence of the current; but this initial error would not have been followed by its effect had the usual and necessary precaution been taken of using the lead, and the Court finds the master, William Bate, alone in default, and suspends his certificate, No. 93,987, for one month.

Dated this twenty-fourth day of June 1895.



T. W. LEWIS, Judge.

We concur in the above report.









Annex to the Report.

This case was heard at the Town Hall, Cardiff, on the 19th, 20th, and 21st days of June 1895.

Mr. Waldron appeared as solicitor for the Board of Trade, and Mr. Vachell for the master of the ship.

The following questions were submitted for the opinion of the Court:—

1. What number of compasses had the vessel, were they in good order and sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel, and when and by whom were they last adjusted?

2. Did the master ascertain the deviation of his compasses by observation from time to time? Were the errors correctly ascertained and the proper corrections to the courses applied?

3. Whether safe and proper courses were steered from the time of leaving Novorossick on the morning of the 27th of March last, and whether due and proper allowance was made for currents?

4. Whether proper measures were taked from time to time, and especially at or about 5 a.m. of the 29th March, to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel?

5. Whether, having regard to the state of the weather, the vessel was navigated at too great a rate of speed?

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

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

8. What was the cause of the casualty?

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

10. Whether the master and officers are, or either of them is, in default?

The following are the facts of the case:—

The "Mark Lane," official number 79,659, is an iron screw steamship, built at Newcastle in 1878, of 2,094.68 tons gross and 1,354.48 tons register; but by Board of Trade survey of the 28th April 1891 this tonnage was reduced to 1,995.30 tons gross and 1,267'01 tons register.

She had inverted direct acting compound surface-condensing engines of 180 horse-power combined, and is owned by Mr. James H. Cory and others. Mr. John Cory, of Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff, being designated the manager.

She is 287 ft. in length, 35.3 ft. in breadth, and 24.3 ft. in depth, with an engine room 38'1 ft. long, and is registered at the port of London. She has four compasses—a standard on the upper bridge by which the courses are set, a compass below the bridge by which the vessel is steered, and two aft. They were last adjusted by H. Harris, of West Hartlepool, on March 4th, 1893. She has four boats, and all necessary life-saving appliances.

The "Mark Lane" left Novorossick at 5 a.m. on the 27th March with a crew of 22 hands all told and one passenger (the master's nephew), under the command of Mr. William Bate, who held a certificate of competency No. 93987, bound to Rotterdam. Her draught was then 21 ft. 2 in. aft and 21 ft. 1 in. forward, and she was in good order and condition. There was a strong breeze from the E.S.E. at starting, which moderated gradually.

A S.W. by W. 3/4 W. (magnetic) course was set by standard; the patent log was also set on leaving Novorossick. At noon an observation was taken, and the position of the ship verified.

The weather during the 28th was clear but dull, and no observation could be taken.

The log at midnight showed that the vessel had made 378 1/2 miles. At 1 a.m. on the 29th, slight patches of fog were observed, the master was called, and the course altered to W. by S. 3/4 S. magnetic. At 1.20 the master came on deck, the weather was then starlight and clear.

The master expected to make Kilia Light by 2 o'clock, but not seeing it, judged that he was beyond the range of the light, and consequently outside his course. At 4.5 it began to come on hazy. At 4.15 a thick fog set in, and the vessel, which up to this time had been kept at full speed, was now slowed, and the course was altered to W. by S. 3/4 S. magnetic. At 5 the fog lifted, and land was observed bearing S.E., estimated at a distance of 4 or 5 miles, but could not be identified. The engines were now put at half speed, but at 5.5 the fog again settled down, and they were reduced to slow and the course altered to W. 1/4 S. magnetic. At 5.20 a dark object was observed ahead, the engines were put full speed astern and the helm hard-a-port; but before her way could be stopped she struck the object, which proved to be a rock, where she remained fast with her head pointing W. 1/2 N. This rock, which stood about 7 feet out of the water, was stated to be about half a mile from the land, but there was no evidence adduced to prove the position of this rock or its distance from the shore, but the Court is of opinion that it was somewhere between Kara Burnu and the entrance to the Bosphorus. The engines were kept going astern for some time, then slow ahead for a while, and afterwards astern at intervals. The lead, which up to this time had not been employed at all, was now used, and a depth of five fathoms aft was found, gradually decreasing forward. The whistle was kept going for some time after she struck.

The boats were swung out, and the hands were then employed jettisoning cargo from No. 1 hold.

A number of boats came alongside from the shore, and shortly afterwards a life-boat made its appearance. by which a telegram was sent to the agents at Constantinople asking them to send a tug-boat to the assistance of the vessel. Eighty-four boats, with 200 or 300 men, came off, and the men boarded the vessel without permission and immediately began to throw the cargo into their boats from No. 1 hold. It was estimated that between 200 and 300 tons was taken from No. 1 hold, a large portion being taken on shore by the above-mentioned boats; about 100 tons of this however was subsequently recovered.

Two kedge anchors with 6 in. warps were put out astern and the after ballast tanks filled.

The fore peak was full of water, but the rest of the ship was dry. At 1 p.m., before the arrival of the tug, the vessel came off the rocks and was kept to the northwestward off shore until 4 p.m., when the fog cleared. She was taken into the Bosphorus, where she was anchored off Kavak, and the following day proceeded to Constantinople, where the bulk of the cargo was discharged. The vessel was dry-docked, and found to have sustained material damage, which was temporarily repaired, enabling her to reship her cargo and continue the voyage to Rotterdam, where she arrived safely.

It may be noted that the tug-boat sent to the assistance of the "Mark Lane," found a steamer, the "Osborne," ashore to the westward of the abovementioned vessel and rendered her assistance.

The following answers were given to the questions, before mentioned, submitted by the Board of Trade:—

1 and 2. The vessel had four compasses. They were in good order and sufficient for her safe navigation.

There is no evidence to show when or by whom they were made. They were last adjusted by Harris, of West Hartlepool, in March 1893.

The master duly ascertained their deviation by observation from time to time, correctly ascertained the errors, and applied the proper corrections to the courses.

3 and 4. Except as hereinafter stated, safe and proper courses were steered from the time of leaving Novorossick on the 27th March and due and proper allowance was made for currents, and—save as hereinafter stated—all available measures were taken from time to time to ascertain and verify the position of the vessel.

5, 6, and 7. The vessel was not navigated at too great a rate of speed, and a good and proper look-out was kept, but the total neglect of the lead was unjustifiable.

The cause of the casualty was the insufficient allowance made by the master for the influence of the current that set the vessel farther to the south-eastward than calculated. This cause, however, would not have been followed by its effect if at 5 a.m. on the 29th, when he sighted land, the master had taken a cast of the lead to verify his position; for such a measure would at once have shown him that he was about 10 miles off his course, and in close proximity to the land. The duty to take a cast of the lead at that hour was of the most imperative character, because his position had not been fixed by observation. Since noon on the 27th, a dense fog had prevailed from about 4 a.m. to 5 a.m., and, according to the distance run, the vessel had for about three hours been within the radius of Kili Light without sighting it.

Hence the vessel was not navigated with proper and seamanlike care, and the master alone is in default.

The master, for a long period of years, has borne a very high character for skill and ability as a seaman. His employers have testified strongly to his good qualities and the confidence they have reposed in him.

On the voyage now in question—with the exception of the one grave and culpable omission as to the lead—he discharged his duties before the casualty with sea. manlike care, and, subsequent to the casualty, displayed considerable skill in getting his vessel off without assistance, and navigating her in safety to this country. Hence the Court, with regret, deals with his certificate, but, having regard to the above-mentioned circumstances, suspends it for one month only.




We concur.







Issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 4th day of July 1895.

87089—22. 180.—6/95. Wt. 165. E. & S.


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