Tuesday, 5 January 2016

LETTERS TO THE BUILDERS.

The Mercury (Hobart) Wednesday 25 January, 1911.

LETTERS TO THE BUILDERS.
Regarding the letters written by hisfirm to Messrs Barclay Curle, and Co,the builders, stated that the Waratahwas not so stable as the Geelong, andthat the builders would be held responsible, for anything that might happen ifshe was moved light in dock. Mr. Lundstated that in an interview, which hehad with Mr. Peck, representing thebuilders he assured them she had beenmoved in dock in Glasgow perfectly light,and without any ballast, and that itwould be quite safe to do so in London.
The letters were written during April, 1909, after the return of the Waratah from her maiden voyage. Remembering that Lund had claimed (under oath) that Captain Ilbery was entirely satisfied with the Waratah in every respect, the claim can now be seen for what it was - a lie.
Mr. Peck also disregarded Captain Ilbery's concerns about moving the Waratah in dock - very light condition (without ballast). There had in fact been difficulties loading the Waratah at Sydney directly due to this issue. So the issue, which was avoided by Mr. Peck and the Court, did not relate to MOVING the Waratah in such condition, but rather LOADING.

They also discussed the lines of theship, the question of her water ballastand coal supply, and Captain Ilbery'sstatement that in light trim the Geelongwas a stiffer ship than the Waratah. Hemight have said that Captain Ilbery hadconvinced him on this point, but Mr.Peck satisfied him that Captain Ilberywas wrong and that the Waratah inlight condition was a more stable ship thanthe Geelong. He accepted the statement,as it was never a matter of serious complaint on the part of Captain Ilbery.
This is outrageous. Clearly the Waratah in 'light trim' with her additional superstructure deck, was less stiff than the Geelong. Of course Captain Ilbery could have convinced him of this point. Mr. Peck was fast on the heels of Lund in presenting untruths to the Court.
It is also interesting to note that the 'lines' of the Waratah were a subject of discussion. Presumably using the marginally larger version of the Geelong's hull did not fulfill requirements for the triple deck Waratah.

Questioned by Mr. Bucknill, on behalfof certain passengers: Did you ever writeto the builders suggesting that the factof the Waratah, not having as much stabilityas the Geelong, might be groundsfor your getting back part of the purchase money, or getting some compensation from the builders?
Witness: No
Then all the letters that you had written previously referring to the stabilityof the Waratah, and the risk of moving her light in dock, were merely bluff?
Wituess: They were not serious letters.
In reply to further questions, the witness said he could not point to any letter in which the question of the stability of the Waratah was put forward with a view to bringing about a settlement of the demurrage claim for 1900 pounds.
The question of demurrage was hardly evermentioned in the letters, but mostly in conversation.
Lund proved under oath that he was not a reliable witness and was in large part allowed to get away with making these outrageous claims. The letters were very clear on the subject and the word demurrage was replaced with a very definite 'the builders would be held responsible'. Lund made a mockery of the Court in his attempts to steer judge Dickinson away from the very real issue that the Waratah was significantly more tender than the Geelong in light condition.
At this stage the inquiry was adjourned, till Monday, January 9.

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