"Further evidence regarding the Waratah's preparedness for her voyage was obtained from Captain Airth, Lloyd's surveyor in Durban. Captain Airth expains that it would have been obligatory upon the captain of the steamer to notify any defect in hull or machinery affecting his vessel's seaworthiness to the Board of Trade authorities, since, in the event of previous damage being discovered after a casualty, unreported at the last port at which the vessel called, not only would the captain's certificate be endangered, but the steamer's insurance would be affected."
"As a further confirmation of the Waratah's soundness before she left Durban, the certificate given by her master, Captain Ilbery, to the Collector of Customs, as Board of Trade officer, was obtained, and a copy taken."
It is as follows:
Port Natal, July 26, 1909
To the Collector of Customs. Port
"I hereby declare to the best of my knowledge and belief that my vessel, the SS Waratah, has sustained no damage from any cause whatever since leaving the last port, Adelaide, and I have nothing special to report."
(signed) J.E. Ilbery,
Master, SS Waratah.
"The Waratah did have one small repair carried out here, but it was of so insignificant a character that the cost did not exceed 3 pounds 15 shillings. Mr Booth (of R Booth and Son, engineers, Greyville), who effected the repair, as being the removal of a suction pipe from one of the auxiliary feed pipes, from what is known as the Weirs pump to the heater, which raises the temperature of the condensed water preparatory to its being fed again into the boilers."
Although the repair seemed insignificant it was discovered that the copper pipe in question was flawed and being connected with the steam system implies that flawed copper piping in general could have resulted in an explosive disaster. It is often quoted that there was nothing particularly flammable on the Waratah to cause an explosion. In this instance there did not have to be...