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Wreck Report for 'Kingdom', 1895

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Unique ID:16728
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Kingdom', 1895
Creator:Board of Trade
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown


(No. 83.)


IN the matter of an Investigation held before Captain J. THRELFALL BRAGG, Inspector for the Board of Trade, into the circumstances attending the supposed loss of the steamship "KINGDOM," which has not been heard of since reported off the Butt of Lewis on the 24th day of December 1894.


SIR,—In compliance with my appointment as Inspector by the Board of Trade, dated 23rd of April, 1895, I held an inquiry on the 1st of May in the Grand Jury Room, St. George's Hall, Liverpool, as to the supposed loss of the above-named steamer, which left Hamburg for Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A., on the 18th day of December, 1894, and was reported off the Butt of Lewis on the 24th day of the same month.

I have the honour to report as follows:—

Mr. Paxton, solicitor, Liverpool, appeared on behalf of the Board of Trade, and Mr. George Dickinson, solicitor, Liverpool, appeared on behalf of the owners.

At the conclusion of the evidence produced by the Board of Trade, Mr. George Dickinson called three witnesses, who gave material evidence as regards this vessel.

The facts of the case are as follows:—

The steamship "Kingdom," official number 86,232, was a British screw steamer built of iron, at Sunderland, in the county of Durham, by Messrs. Wm. Doxford and Son in 1882.

She was of the following dimensions:—Length 280 ft., breadth 36 ft., depth of hold from tonnage deck to ceiling amidships 24.5 ft., her tonnage being 2175.71 tons gross, or 1413.98 tons nett.

She was schooner rigged, and was fitted with two compound surface-condensing engines of 200 nominal horse-power combined, and was registered at the port of Liverpool on the 29th day of September 1882 as the property of the Steamship "Kingdom" Company, Limited, Mr. William Thomas, of 30, Brunswick Street, Liverpool, being the person to whom the management of the vessel was intrusted by and on behalf of the owners.

The s.s. "Kingdom," which was built under the three-deck rule of Lloyd's, had two complete iron decks laid, and the lower tier of beams put in.

She had six iron water-tight bulkheads, of which Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 extended from top of floor to the upper deck. No. 6 extended from floor to lower deck beams, and formed the bulkhead of the after-peak. She had also an iron bulkhead, not watertight, which ran up to the middle deck at the after-part of No. 2 hold; the space between this bulkhead and No. 3, which was at the forward end of the stoke-hole, formed a reserve coal bunker. She had two water-ballast tanks, one forward in the main bold, having a capacity of 143 tons, the other in the after-hold, having a capacity of 135 tons.

The bulkheads, with the exception of Nos. 1 and 6, were fitted with sluices in the waterways at the wings of the water ballast tanks in the required places, and where there were no ballast tanks they were fitted with sluices amidships. Nos. 1 and 6 bulkheads had drain cocks fitted to them.

She had a top-gallant forecastle 35 ft. 3 in. long and 7 ft. high, with doors in the after end for the admission of the crew. From the forecastle to the bridge the forward well was 82 ft. in length. The front of the bridge was an iron bulkhead 7 ft. high; it had a door on each side for admittance to the alleyways under the bridge deck, which was 56 ft. long, to the after bulkhead, which was also of iron, and 7 ft. high, with doors through it corresponding with those of the forward bulkhead. The distance from the bridge to the poop was 86 ft.; this formed the after well. The front of the poop was of plate iron, 7 ft. high, with one door in it on the port side, and the poop deck was 24 ft. 9 in. long, and had a small skylight and companion way on top of it, as the master and officers were quartered on the poop.

In the forward well was No. 1 hatch, 12 ft. long by 10 ft. wide, leading into No. 1 hold, and No. 2 hatch, 20 ft. long by 12 ft. wide, leading into No. 2 hold, also a small hatch, 6 ft. long by 4 ft. wide, leading down to the reserve coal bunker. In the after well was No. 3 hatch, 16 ft. long by 10 ft. wide, leading into No. 3 hold, and No. 4 hatch, 20 ft. long by 10 ft. wide, leading down No. 4 hold.

The coamings of all these hatches were of half-inch plate iron, and stood 18 in. high above the deck; all were fitted with wooden hatches 3 in. thick, fore-and-afters, tarpaulins, and could be secured in the ordinary manner with wooden wedges and hatch bars in the thumb cleats rivetted to the coamings.

Both the after and the forward wells were surrounded with bulwarks 4 ft. high, in which were cut in both wells three freeing ports on each side, 30 in. long by 18 in. wide, and 12 in. above the decks; these ports could be secured if necessary.

On the bridge deck was a wheel-house and chartroom, immediately abaft which came the fidley grating; this had a sheet iron cover fitted to secure it with in bad weather, and on the after end of the bridge was the engine-room skylight, which was provided with tarpaulins, and the same means of securing them as the hatches.

Under the bridge at the sides of the vessel were the engineers' quarters, and the engine-room and fidley were surrounded by an iron bulkhead on each side with doorways in it for access to the engine-room and stokehole from the alleyways, these doorways being fitted with iron doors to shut in case of necessity.

This vessel also had two ventilators leading down into each hold, the coamings of which her former master stated were 3 ft. high; that they were very strong, and were fitted with wooden plugs and canvas covers, and that when the cowl-heads were taken off they could be properly secured.

She had also one hand pump in each hold, with gear complete, besides a large donkey pump in the engineroom; also a bilge injection pump, which could be used for pumping out the bilges, and the vessel was classed 100 years A1 in Lloyd's Registry of Shipping.

On or about the 4th of October 1894 this vessel passed her No. 3 survey at the port of Liverpool, Mr. Johnson, shipwright surveyor, also Mr. Dyke, engineer surveyor to Lloyd's, stated that they had her thoroughly opened out both as regards hull, engines, and boilers, that they found her in first-class condition in every way, and that after some slight repairs she was retained in the 100 A1 class.

After this she made a short voyage, and returned to Hamburg, when she was chartered to load a cargo of 2,350 tons of salt for conveyance to Charleston, U.S.A.

On or about the 18th of December, having loaded her cargo at Hamburg, she left that port for the Tyne to supply herself with coals for the voyage out; there was no evidence to show what her draught of water was on leaving, but it is my opinion she was in all respects then in a good and seaworthy condition.

The s.s. "Kingdom" was under the command of Mr. W. H. Jones, who held a certificate of competency as master, numbered 015,763, and had a crew of 22 all told. She had boats and life-saving apparatus according to the Board of Trade Regulations, also four compasses with their deviation cards (the vessel having been swung sometime since), and appears to have been otherwise well found. She arrived in the Tyne on the 21st December, and having embarked 369 tons 10 cwt. of coals, the first mate stopped the staithman from putting any more on board, as he said the vessel was down to her marks. She left the Tyne about 9 p.m. the same day.

On reference to her displacement scale, it was found that with 2,350 tons of salt, 369 tons 10 cwt. of new coals, and about 18 tons of old coals which she had in her bunkers on arriving in the Tyne, making a total dead weight of 2,738 tons, her mean draught of water at sea would be 21 ft. 9 in.; this taken from her depth of side amidships, viz., 26 ft. 8 in., leaves 4 ft. 11 in. of freeboard, which was that allowed her for winter in the North Atlantic, so that the vessel could not be considered overladen.

The s.s. "Kingdom" proceeded on her voyage, and on the 24th of December at 10.30 a.m. signalled her name to the station on the Butt of Lewis, north point of the Hebrides Islands, and asked to be reported to her owners, and in a letter from the signalman he states," she appeared to be in perfect trim." Since that time up to the present nothing more has been either seen or heard of her.

From the certificate of the stevedore produced, and also the stowage plan furnished, I consider that the cargo was well stowed and the weight properly distributed in her.

Her crew was classed as follows.—Master, first mate, second mate, boatswain, steward, cook, six A.B.'s, three engineers, one donkeyman, five firemen, and one mess-room steward.

On the voyage referred to above this vessel carried the crew as enumerated, and which I understand from the evidence produced is the usual number carried by vessels of her class, therefore I consider that she was properly and sufficiently manned.

As regards the cause of the vessel not having been heard of since passing the Butt of Lewis on the 24th December, it can only be a matter of mere conjecture, but I am of opinion that she has foundered through stress of weather during one of the heavy gales which prevailed about the end of that month.

The agreed value of the s.s. "Kingdom" between owner and underwriter for insurance purposes was 15,000l. She was insured for 12,000l. all risks, and for 500l. total loss; the freight was insured for 1,000l., but only 882l. recovered; also an annual policy to cover insurance premiums for 1,000l., of which only 833l. was recovered.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient servant,



Birkdale, 6th May 1895.

The Assistant Secretary,

Marine Department, Board of Trade,

Whitehall, London.

Issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 20th day of May 1895.

87089—4. 180.— 5/95. Wt. 165. E. & S.


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