Sunday, 9 March 2014


The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931)  Previous issueTuesday 14 September 1909


LONDON, September 12.

"A Reuter's Cape Town correspondent says
the belief is still prevalent in naval circles
that the Waratah is afloat."

"The fitting out of the search steamer Sabine
was personally superintended by Admiral Egerton,
commander of the Cape squadron."

"Moreover, the embarkation of a bluejacket
searchlight crew has caused great satisfaction,
being regarded as ensuring exhaustive
night searches for the missing ship."


Melbourne, September 13.

"The Aberdeen line steamer Salamis,
which arrived from London today, made
a fruitless search for the Waratah."

"Two men 'were kept' aloft day and night, and a
powerful electric, light, having a radius of
visibility of 23 miles, was exhibited from
the masthead from sunset to sunrise."

"Captain Schleman said there were many vessels
out searching for the Waratah, but the
Salamis did not sight any of them."

"When he left Cape Town there was a general feeling
of hopefulness that the Waratah would
be picked up in a disabled condition."

"He himself has not lost all hope-, although he
admits that the chances seem small."

A subtle point is made in this report:

Even though the Salamis made use of a powerful lamp by night (poor chaps kept aloft day and night), not only were there no sightings of the missing Waratah, but nor of the many other vessels at sea searching for the missing vessel. Clearly, searches at sea of this nature had marked limitations, and a negative outcome (not sighting the Waratah) in scientific terms was a 'test' with low sensitivity, given that no other vessels were sighted.

The Salamis was not immune to misfortune:

She Departed Delagoa Bay 5 p.m., 6 August, 1912, bound for Port Natal, with a general cargo of 3600 tons. The vessel had a length of 392 feet and breadth, 47 feet. Her registered tonnage was 2665.62 tons.

7 August, 1912, the Salamis ran aground off the Bluff at Durban Port, the port anchor having slipped.
Messages were sent to the Port Department and two tugs dispatched to assist. Water rapidly flooded holds number one and two, and every effort was made during the next day to pump out the holds, cargo being discharged as quickly as possible. 

The diver discovered a hole in the shell plating in No. 1 hold E. which he reported to be about a foot square. This demonstrates that rents in steel steamers of the time did not necessarily have to be extensive to be fatal. A foot square was enough to take the 392 ft Salamis to the bottom, if she had still been at sea. Subsequently the cargo was removed and the vessel placed on a floating dock, 29 August.


SS Salamis

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