Saturday, 9 November 2013

Anecdote Saturday - SS Narrung and SS Boveric (adrift)

The Narrung (launched in1896) was a single screw steamer of 5078 tons purchased by the Blue Anchor Line in 1905.  400 ft long, with accommodation for 50 first class passengers and a significant number of emigrants, she serviced the UK to Australia route via the Cape of Good Hope. In 1902, she towed the 'Howard Smith' steamer Boveric to Fremantle, after the Boveric lost her screw (propeller) and had been drifting for 27 days.

3,987 gross tons. Lb: 105.2 x 15.2 metres. Steel single screw steamship built by Russell at Port Glasgow for SS Boveric Co Ltd (Andrew Weir), Glasgow. Cargo only. Triple expansion engine. 1889 purchased by W H Smith & Sons Melbourne, arriving 1900 Australian waters. 1901 owner changed trading name as Howard Smith, Melbourne. Vessel retained original name until 1906 when renamed Cycle. 1916 chartered to British Government. Duties within WW1 unknown. 1919 sold to Rederiaktiebolaget Transatlantic, Gothenburg (G Carlsson) renamed Svarten. Broken up at Gothenburg May 1933

Boveric was en route from Sydney to Durban with 965 horses for the Boer War.  Only 52 horses were lost:

Newspaper cutting:

Sydney Morning Herald - 9 May 1902
SS Boveric  
MELBOURNE, Thursday.
The anxiety which was felt regarding the overduesteamer Boveric was relieved to an extent today by  the receipt of a telegram from Fremantle announcing,as was generally surmised, that the vessel had metwith no more serious misadventure than the loss ofher propellor. This, under the circumstances, wel-come news was brought by the chief officer of theBoveric, Mr Hayman, who together with three of thecrew of the Boveric had sailed 1500 miles in an openlifeboat to seek assistance for the disabled vessel.
The heroic adventurers were picked up off the coastnear Fremantle on Wednesday afternoon by thesteamer Willyama, and brought on by that vessel tothe Western Australian port they had had a longand arduous experience, having been no less than27 days in the life before they were discovered,      and their cruise has probably established a recordas regards distance and time in lifeboats
At the time of her mishap the Boveric was ap-proximately 500 miles north of the regular track ofsteamers coming from South Africa, and the chances ofher being discovered by vessels coming from the Capewere remote. 
When going from Australia to South  Africa steamers especially those with live stock onboard proceed over a much higher latitude thanthat taken by vessels coming the reverse way. Theobject of this is to escape, as far as possible, thestrong westerly winds which sweep the lower lati-tudes of the Southern Ocean. 
More favourable conditions are found over the higher latitudes,and it was for this reason that the Boveric,with her valuable freight of 960 horses on board, was ordered to steer a course between the parallels of 28° and 32°. Upon the receipt of the news  of the accident the Howard Smith Company entered into negotiations for the despatch of one or two steamers from Western Australia to search for the disabled vessel. 
The company has not at present a steamer in the west which would be suitable for such  a mission, and they are therefore arranging for assistance outside their own fleet. The negotiations which are in progress were not concluded up to to-night but it is almost certain that aid will be sent to the helpless steamer to morrow.
The voyage of the Boveric began inauspiciouslyfor Mr Hayman, the chief officer, and there seemeda prospect at one time that he would not be able to  go away in her. Whilst the last batch of horses wasbeing shipped at Port Melbourne the day before the  departure of the vessel one of the animals made asavage attack with its teeth on Mr Hayman, inflicting an ugly wound on one of his shoulders. The injured officer suffered acutely from the effects of the bite but resolutely stuck to his post. Mr Hayman is well known  in connection with coastal shipping Before joiningthe Howard Smith line he was in the service of the  Adelaide S.S. Company, Limited. 
Although it is  understood that the Boveric is amply provided with provisions for the crew, there is grave doubt as to  how the horses will fare in event of the voyage being much further prolonged. When the Boveric left here she took sufficient fodder to last the animals for 45 days, but it is more than likely that when the accident occurred their daily allowance of fodder was reduced in order to provide as far as possible for a protracted sojourn at sea. 
The vessel has now been 48 days out from this port the opinion is expressed by several nautical men that a vessel following the course of the prevailing current from the spot where the Boveric began to drift would probably be swept across to the coast of Mauritius.
The manager for Howard Smith and Co. receiveda telegram this afternoon from the chief officer of theBoveric at Fremantle as follows : 
"Boveric lost her propeller April 3, latitude 30°42 south longitude  93 42 east drifting till 11th, when chief officer left, about 25 miles per day north-west directions should be well northward of Australian-South African track " 

On Boxing Day 1912, while in the English Channel en route to Australia the Narrung almost foundered in a severe storm in the Bay of Biscay.  She issued an SOS distress call and managed to return to England.

newspaper cutting:

Intentions as to the Narrung
(Press Assn. - By Telegraph. - Copyright)
London, January 1, 1912

"In the House of Commons Mr Farrell gave notice of his intention to question Mr Buxton as to whether the Narrung, during a storm in the Indian Ocean on her last homeward voyage, heeled over at an angle of 54 degrees, with such danger that the officers were on the point of lowering the boats, and whether the Waratah, a sister ship, capsized through top-heaviness owing to her bad construction, and whether the Board of Trade intend to allow the Narrung to continue to carry passengers on long voyages."

It seems very unlikely that the Narrung heeled over 54 degrees and managed to stay afloat. She was sold to the Mexico Steamship Company in 1913 and renamed the Mexico City. She remained perfectly seaworthy until 1916 when she was grounded after a torpedo attack. But it was only after a second torpedo attack by U-101, and not due to her tendency to list dangerously, that sounded her death knell, 15 miles from South Stack, Holyhead, Anglesey, North Wales, with the loss of 29 souls, including the Captain.


SS Narrung

No comments: