Sunday, 22 November 2015

CABINS FLOODED.

Outbound - second voyage continued.

W. H. Baker. 

Surgeon on "Waratah" 

I did not consider at any time the list was a serious feature about the vessel. She rolled more to leeward than to windward. When she got to the end of the roll to leeward, she seemed to hang over a moment of time and then appeared slowly to recover herself. The momentary stoppage at the end of the roll was very noticeable.

The accurate descriptions of a tender ship continue, but in the case of the doctor, he did not consider 'the list a serious feature'. In his opinion the Waratah displayed features of tenderness, but was not of concern regarding safety. He made the important point illustrating wind pressure on the prominent upper decks.



Harold Skarratt Thomas. 

Seaman on "Waratah" 

On three occasions during my voyage on the "Waratah" her behaviour attracted my notice. 

The first occasions was when we were in the Bay of Biscay. The sea was choppy. The vessel rolled considerably, and did not appear to recover herself quickly at any time. 

The second occasion was on the voyage across the Indian Ocean during very fine weather. The water was smooth with scarcely a ripple, but there was a heavy swell which came from the south. 

One morning during that time I was having my bath. I had the bath full almost to overflowing, and had been lying full length in it for some time. The motion of the vessel had not been remarkable, when suddenly I was rolled on to the side of the bath. At first I was amused at the water flowing over the side of the bath, but a second or two later, it seemed to me that the vessel would never stop. When the roll did cease, the vessel appeared to remain on her side for some time. I am unable to say how long, but it seemed to me longer than should have been the case. When the vessel recovered herself, I was surprised to find that the water in the bath did not cover my body. I have a very distinct recollection of the incident, because I was startled by it at the time. The bath steward a few minutes later made some remark to me about the rolling of the vessel. 

The third occasion on which I noticed the behaviour of the vessel was one evening soon after we had cleared the Port Phillip Heads on route to Sydney. The wind was blowing hard, and the sea appeared rough. 

I had retired early that evening, and had been asleep. I cannot say how long I had been asleep, when I was awakened by being rolled forcibly against the side of my bunk. and I had to grip the railing hard in order to avoid being thrown completely out of bed. 

On the whole I do not think I had on that voyage much opportunity of judging the behaviour of the vessel, because we had such a smooth passage. 

On the three occasions, however, which I have mentioned, the behaviour of the vessel was sufficient to attract my attention, though it is only since the supposed loss of the vessel that I have really considered the matter. 

The vessel rolled considerably at times, and certainly seemed to me to be "dead" in the water. I mean by "dead" that when rolling she did not recover herself quickly. 

There is a consistency in the accounts, describing a tender vessel. Mr. Thomas makes the important point that if the Waratah had not been lost, he might not have considered her behaviour. This is very important and highlights the challenges facing the Court. It was not an easy task establishing what were real concerns vs. 'looking for problems' in view of the fact that the Waratah had disappeared under sensational circumstances. Mr. Thomas referred to the Waratah being 'dead in the water' not because her engines had failed or were under powered, but in this context relating to the delay in returning from a list.

William. Macdonald 

Trimmer on the "Waratah." 

At times the "Waratah" had a considerable list on. It was more noticeable at some times than at others. The list was nearly always to leeward. As a trimmer on the coal, I know that the list was not due to the uneven distribution of the coal, because the coal was worked down evenly on both sides. 

When there was any sort of a sea on at all, the vessel had a big roll. It was bigger than what I had experienced on other ships. 

At the end of each roll she seemed to stop for a little while before she commenced the return roll. The roll was different from what I had experienced on other vessels. I had not felt on any other vessel the same pause at the end of a roll. 

The vessel did not pitch as much as she rolled. She recovered quickly from a pitch. 

I don't think she was what is called "dead" in the water. 

Important comment by a trimmer, ruling out the uneven working down of coal as a cause for the Waratah's listing. The comments continue to reinforce the impression that the Waratah was tender to some degree on this outbound voyage. Thoughts continue to return to the significant coal component below.

Arthur Victor Thomson. 

Trimmer on "Waratah." 

Had been from Melbourne to Hamburg in a German steamship, and had been on other ships. 

At times the vessel had a considerable list on. It was more noticeable at some times than at others. The list was nearly always to leeward. As a trimmer working on the coal, I know that the list was not due to the uneven distribution of the coal, because the coal was worked down evenly on both sides. 

When there was any sort of a sea at all the vessel had a big roll. It was bigger than what I had experienced on other ships. When working in the bunkers I have had my barrow thrown right away from me with the roll. Sometimes she would appear to stop at the extremity of a roll, and then roll further over again as if another sea had struck her. 

At the end of each roll she seemed to stop a little while before she commenced the return roll. The roll was different from what I have experienced on other vessels. I had not felt on any other vessel the same pause at the end of a roll. 

The vessel did not pitch as much as she rolled. 

I do not think she was what is called "dead" in the water. 

Further confirmation by another trimmer. In this case he did not believe the situation was bad enough to label the Waratah 'dead in the water'. Note that both trimmers referred to pitching not being a problem. They would wouldn't they, being trimmers :)


William. Walter Dewey. 

General servant on "Waratah." 

Never before on oceangoing vessel. 

My quarters were in the No. 5 upper 'tween decks. After we had left Cape Town there were a couple of days during which there was a heavy swell on the sea and the vessel rolled very much, so much so that the port holes in our quarters had to be kept closed. One had been left open, and a lot of water came in and flooded one of the bunks. This water came in owing to the heavy rolling of the vessel. 

I noticed the rolling particularly because, as a steward, I had to carry soup and other things about to the tables. When the vessel rolled she always paused for a little time before she commenced the return roll, and I had to wait and be ready for that pause every time or else I would have been thrown off my balance. I can't say definitely how long that pause was, but it seemed to be a considerable time. 

She used to roll over steadily and then hang for a time at the extremity of the roll before she commenced to return. She did this whether the roll was to port or starboard. 

I did not take much notice of the pitching of the vessel and did not notice anything to draw attention to. My attention was devoted to the rolling because that interfered more with me in my work. 

A convincing account. Flooding of a cabin on the upper 'tween decks illustrates the degree to which the Waratah rolled on occasion. However, Waratah had a relatively low freeboard so this in itself might be the explanation without necessarily referring to a great angle of heel.

Matters by this stage were looking very dismal and it would be naive to argue that the Waratah was as stable as she could have been on the outbound voyage. 











Principessa Jolanda - matters could get this bad if stability issues were not addressed and sorted out.




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