Wednesday, 9 December 2015


Two people qualified to express an opinion deponed as to the "Waratah's" condition when leaving Durban; Mr. John Rainnie, the port captain, and the master of the tug "Richard King," which towed her from the wharf to outside the bar. Mr. Rainnie's statement that she had no list when leaving the wharf, and that none was created by the tug pulling upon her, is of importance, and the evidence of the tugmaster is conclusive on this point.

I could not agree more. A tender vessel would surely have listed when the forces of the tug were applied. It is surprising that people still want to believe the Waratah was top heavy when she departed Durban. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

The master and chief officer of the "Clan Macintyre," who were the last persons to see the "Waratah," state that she had no list and was proceeding steadily (see their evidence ante).

Over an extended period of more than three hours, the Waratah observed at sea, displayed no features of tenderness and 'was proceeding steadily'. 

The Court has had to seek an explanation of the large amount of adverse comment made upon the "Waratah's" behaviour during her career, and is of opinion that it is to be found in the undoubted tenderness of the ship throughout her first voyage and whilst loading. In such a condition quite observable lists could be produced by moderate wind pressures, relatively small alterations of water ballast, the consumption of fresh water, or nonsymmetrical working out of coal. 

Stands perfectly to reason !

After this voyage the captain had full guidance as to stowing the ship, and the evidence as to the loading on the second voyage homeward, together with his remark to Mr. Wade that he had now learned to stow her, indicate that he had made use of the information at his disposal. 

He certainly had - but the Court did not venture into territory exploring the extent to which adjustments were made, creating a GM stable steamer.

Port Natal 


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