Friday, 18 December 2015


Letters addressed by the owners to the builders after the maiden voyage showed that representations had been made to the owners by Captain Ilbery, and it was noted on the homeward voyage that he did not use the spar deck for coal.
 This is an exceptionally interesting passage, as recorded by a reporter at the Inquiry.
We know that the Waratah had about 250 - 340 tons of coal on her spar deck, departing Durban. Captain Ilbery was well aware of the GM reducing factor caused by spar deck coal and 'it was noted that he did not use the spar deck for coal' on the homeward voyage. How can these statements correlate, and be true ??
From the evidence outlined in previous posts, we know that the Waratah did not have spar deck coal between Sydney and Durban, which confirms Captain Ilbery's claim. But suddenly at Durban, coal was loaded into spar deck bunkers. 
We know that the Waratah had a GM of 1.9 ft. between Adelaide and Durban. Sawyer gave a detailed witness account at the Inquiry which included graphic details of passengers being thrown off balance on deck due to the 'jerky recovery' from heeling.
This was a serious situation in terms of passenger safety and comfort. Captain Ilbery, master of the Waratah, was obliged to do something to improve matters.
Captain Ilbery, in my opinion, came up with an ingenious solution to the problem. He had manipulated loading and ballasting of the Waratah rather too well, creating the GM of 1.9 ft. which in essence was the problem. Ironically, when all is said and done about the Waratah being tender, she lashed back by creating a new set of problems for passengers in her revitalized very stiff form.
Captain Ilbery, by loading 250 - 340 tons of coal on the spar deck, reduced the GM to 1.5 ft. which was more than likely a cure for the 'jerky recovery'. No more injuries.
In fact coal was left in the main chute (chutes could hold 130 tons) to within 2 ft. of the opening in front of the funnel on the boat deck. This further significant quantity of coal contributed to reducing GM. 
It was necessary to have coal on the spar deck and it was done on purpose !!!!!!

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