Friday, 20 November 2015


History of the Ship's Second Voyage. 

The "Waratah" left London on her second (and last) voyage on the 27th April, 1909. She carried 193 steerage passengers, 22 cabin passengers and a crew of 119. The vessel was again surveyed and reported satisfactory by Captain M. H. Clarke, the emigration officer. It is not known what cargo she carried on the outward voyage. The bunker coal on board when leaving consisted of 3,456 tons, none of which was carried in the spar deck space

Waratah had a total coal capacity (permanent and reserve) of 3829 tons. At least 373 tons must have been in the spar deck bunkers, unless it was stowed in cargo space, which is possible considering this was an outbound voyage.

The insurances upon the ship will be found set out in the answer to the third question of the Board of Trade. 

The first important point to note, relates to the number of 'emigrants' in steerage. The number had dropped considerably compared with the roughly 700 on the maiden voyage. Emigrants were a significant source of income, so why more than 500 less on this voyage? The answer to this may lie in Stanley Robinson's excellent post:

Captain Clarke, emigration officer, was the same man who approved the overcrowded conditions on the maiden outbound voyage - 'She was surveyed the same day off Gravesend by the emigration officer, Captain M. H. Clarke, who found she fully complied with all the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Acts'. But the Waratah did not comply with the Merchant Shipping Act (below); a steamer carrying emigrants, was limited to one statute adult to every twenty tons of the ship's registered tonnage. If one makes the calculation, an alarming figure of 300 emigrants (net tonnage) and even if gross tonnage were used, 450 emigrants, is limited by the act. The Waratah was certainly packed to the hilt on her maiden voyage, and this was in direct contravention of the Shipping Act. How could Captain Clarke have allowed such a thing? It raises the issue of the Lunds' influence on the Act regulators. It is impossible that there were 600 emigrants aged between 1 and 12, making up the manifest - drinking and cavorting. Stanley Robinson quotes 10 men per 100 superficial feet. The Act stipulates, 1 man per 36 superficial feet. There is no doubt that the Lunds contravened the Act on the Waratah's maiden voyage. What else was contravened, one wonders?

“Emigrant ship,” &c. to which Part applies.

268. For the purposes of this Part of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
(1) The expression “emigrant ship” shall mean every sea-going ship, whether British or foreign, and whether or not conveying mails, carrying, upon any voyage to which the provisions of this Part of this Act respecting emigrant ships apply, more than fifty steerage passengers or a greater number of steerage passengers than in the proportion—
(a) if the ship is a sailing ship, of one statute adult to thirty-three tons of the ship’s registered tonnage; and
(b) if the ship is a steam ship of one statute adult to every twenty tons of the ship’s registered tonnage;
(2) The expression “statute adult” shall mean a person of the age of twelve years or upwards, and two persons between the ages of one and twelve years shall be treated as one statute adult;
(3) [1 The expression “steerage passenger” means all passengers except cabin passengers, and persons shall not be deemed cabin passengers unless—
(a) the space allotted to their exclusive use is in the proportion of at least thirty-six superficial feet to each statute adult;

According to the Inquiry transcript, the Waratah carried 3456 tons of coal, outbound. It was also claimed that none of this coal was loaded into the spar deck bunkers. I find this figure confusing, to say the least. The GM of the Waratah was significantly and negatively affected by coal in the 'tween decks. If one is to believe 3456 tons, there would have to have been significant coal in these reserve bunkers. It does not make sense. The Waratah needed about 2300 to 2400 tons of coal for the longest stretches at sea. Why would Captain Ilbery have compromised the GM ?

It seems bizarre, unless....cargo outbound was limited, forcing the placement of reserve coal in cargo holds, at the lowest level, which would act as significant ballast and correct the GM. But the all telling witness accounts from this voyage will give us a clearer idea of the state of the Waratah.

Lastly the extract states 'it was not known what cargo she carried'. This was to be a pattern throughout and makes establishing the exact nature and weight of cargo on the Waratah, a next to impossible exercise. 

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