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Wreck Report for 'Ardenclutha', 1895

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Unique ID:16847
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Ardenclutha', 1895
Creator:Board of Trade
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown


(No. 5155.)


FINDING of a Naval Court held at Iquique, on the 16th and 18th days of April, 1895, to investigate the circumstances attending the stranding of the ship "ARDENCLUTHA," of Glasgow, 1222 tons, near Iquique, on the 12th April 1895.

Having considered the evidence, we, the undersigned members of the Marine Court, are unanimously of opinion that the master, Charles E. Webb, of the ship "Ardenclutha," committed grave errors of judgment, the result of which was the loss of the vessel on the following grounds, viz:

Firstly, although without any previous experience of the port of Iquique, in attempting to enter the port in the dark with a decreasing breeze.

Secondly, in not taking means to verify his position by cross bearings or otherwise, although he had Gruesa Point and Iquique lighthouse in sight at the same time The only evidence concerning this is that he said he took cross bearings, but that he had lost his chart.

Thirdly, in not at once letting go his anchor, although according to evidence the anchor was lowered to the hawse and all ready when the acting second mate, who was at the hand lead, reported 15 fathoms of water; at the time the wind was rapidly decreasing. Instead of doing this, he kept standing in for the land with the soundings rapidly lessening from 15 to 12 fathoms, and then to 9 fathoms, when orders were given to let go the anchor, but it was then too late, as the ship struck.

The Court is at a loss to understand how, according to the evidence of the captain, he could have possibly mistaken an electric light on shore for the Iquique lighthouse, considering that the latter is an oil light and fixed with flash twice a minute.

The Court cannot blame the crew for prematurely abandoning the vessel immediately after she struck, as they were obeying the orders of the captain.

We are also pleased to notify that there was no drunkenness on board.

The Court also considers that the vessel was insufficiently officered, the captain holding a temporary master's certificate (which he has also lost), the second mate, who acted as mate, holding only a second mate's certificate, and the sailmaker, who was keeping second mate's watch, holding no certificate at all.

Considering that the acting master is only in possession of a first mate's certificate, we, the members of the Court, are unable to deal with this; but through H.B.M. consul here forward a copy of the evidence together with our opinion of the case to the Board of Trade for them to act as they think proper.

Our opinion is, that the vessel has been lost through carelessness and ignorance.




H.B.M. Consul.




British Merchant.




Master Mariner.




Master Mariner.




Clerk of the Court.

British Consulate, Iquique.

Issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 24th day of June 1895.

87089—18. ?? Wt. 165. E. & S.


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