Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Waratah - Warrnambool runs aground.

Unique ID:17620
Description:BOT Wreck Report for 'Warrnambool', 1898
Creator:Board of Trade
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown
(No. 5805.)


South Australia Marine Board.

Grounding of the S.S. "WARRNAMBOOL."

AN inquiry was held at the Marine Board Offices, Port Adelaide, on Friday, October 14th, 1898, before THOS. N. STEPHENS, Esq., President of the Marine Board, and W. HAMILTON, Esq., Captain J. H. GIBBON, A. CAMPBELL, Esq., and W. R. CAVE, Esq., Wardens, into the circumstances connected with the grounding of the British steamer "WARRNAMBOOL," near No. 13 Beacon, Port Adelaide River, at 8.20 a.m., on Saturday, October 8th, 1898.

The "Warrnambool" is registered at London, official No. 101,917, built of steel, at Sunderland, in 1892, 2,213 tons register; owned by W. Lund, of London, J. G. R. Brodie, R.N.R., master, holding a certificate of competency as master, No. 08,066, issued by the Board of Trade. At the time of the casualty the vessel was in charge of Alexander Frederic Boord, a licensed pilot. The vessel is 360 ft. long, 43 1/2 ft. beam; crew 55 hands, all told; draught about 18 ft. 6 ins. forward and 18 ft. aft, and was on a voyage from London via Cape Town to Port Adelaide and eastern colonies, with a general cargo of about 3,000 tons, and 30 passengers. She arrived at the Semaphore anchorage on the 8th October, and with the pilot in charge proceeded up the river, passing the Port Adelaide lighthouse at 7.30, going half speed until abreast of No. 1 beacon, when the engines were put at full speed until No. 2 was reached. During this time the vessel, according to the master, was not very skilfully handled, but the pilot denied this, and stated that nothing special occurred until after passing No. 12, when instructions were given to go slow, and that when the speed was reduced the vessel would not answer her helm. Also, that although he put the helm hard-a-starboard, and went full speed ahead, it had no effect, and as it was evident that the steamer would go aground on the west bank, he went full speed astern, and let go the anchor with 30 fathoms of chain. The vessel, however, ran on the bank about 300 ft. to seaward of No. 13 Beacon, and about 2,000 ft. from the wharf, where she remained until 3.20 p.m. on the 12th, when, after lightering about 400 tons of cargo, and pumping 200 tons of water from the tanks, she was towed off by the tugs "Yatala" and "Euro," and proceeded to her berth. No injury was sustained by any one on board, and it is believed that no damage was caused to the ship.

When the vessel left the anchorage the tide signal showed 31 ft. in the river, the weather was squally, with a strong S.W. wind, and the tide about first quarter ebb.

The master attributes the stranding to the pilot's want of skill, to his having brought the vessel up at too great a speed, not having starboarded the helm soon enough, and not going astern as quickly as he should have done. The pilot, however, states that the vessel had starboard helm for sometime soon after passing No. 12 beacon, but would not answer it, and considers that the stranding was caused by his reducing the speed to slow (at the master's suggestion), and to the ebb tide and "fresh" in the river catching the vessel on her port bow, and the wind at the same time acting on her starboard quarter, and is of opinion that if he had continued her at half speed until rounding Luff Point, the accident might have been avoided.

Shipowners being bound by law are compelled to hand over their vessels from the charge of the master to the pilots, who hold their licences on account of special skill and local knowledge, and the Board have consequently a right to expect skilful handling of such vessels, and a perfect knowledge of the river and its tides, & seeing that the "Warrnambool" was drawing only about 18 ft., and that she grounded shortly after high water on a 30 ft. tide, the pilot should have had no special difficulty in bringing her safely to the wharf, especially as he admitted that he had had no trouble with the ship up to the time of approaching No. 13 beacon, where the grounding took place. It is also pointed out that some of his reasons for the accident, viz., strength of ebb tide, "fresh" in the river, and effect of the wind acting on the starboard quarter, are not supported by the evidence; and in any case are not a sufficient excuse for the casualty. The pilot also admits that he reduced the speed of the vessel just before the grounding instead of increasing it, as he now considers he should have done. But he was in charge, and was responsible for the proper navigation, and should have acted according to his own judgment.

Under the circumstances the Board are of opinion that the suspension of the pilot's licence for one month from this date will meet this case, but they hope that greater skill will be shown in future, otherwise they will be compelled to take more serious steps.

JOHN DARBY, Secretary, Marine Board.

Marine Board Offices, Port Adelaide, October 19th, 1898.

(Issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 16th day of December, 1898.)


SS Warnambool

Port Adelaide Lighthouse.


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