Sunday, 9 July 2017


The Northern Star, Friday 24 February, 1911


Then there is the storage of cargo.
The general practice has been where it
was available to cram as much in as 
possible. Even to the outsider it is readily
evident how this may seriously affect the
stability of the ship and cause the strain
just where the naval architect would not
want it. 

I could not have put this better if I tried !

With a series of instructions on
the loading, showing its effects on the 
vessel's stability, the owner will know just
what is possible, and it will be the duty
of the authorities to see that he acts on
that knowledge. Old time rule of thumb
work must go, and too close a supervision
of a work which affects the safety of human 
lives cannot be objected to. Recent
cables tell of shipping companies objecting
to legislation in Australia and New Zealand, 
but unless the companies are more
careful to study the interests of the public
such protests have little value. In the
present case the court has passed some 
severe comments, and it Is to be hoped they
will result in the fullest of inquiries.

This aspect of the Waratah mystery cannot be ignored. Because a maximum draught of 30 ft. 4 1/2 inches was set for Waratah and rubber stamped by the Board of Trade, it does not mean that it was well within the scope of safety for a ship of that size. The writer (and the one in a previous post) uses Waratah as an example of extending the boundaries of safe cargo tonnage. Of course Waratah needed to be too heavy to offset top heaviness, but this was replacing one 'evil' with another. 

It was claimed by the owners that Waratah was only one third full, being the off season. It has also been claimed that Waratah had room for another 150 tons departing Adelaide for the last time. This does not equate with one third full. 150 tons is a drop in the ocean in the context of 10 000 to 12 000 tons. There must be a reason why the owners were pushing for a partly loaded Waratah when the true facts contradicted this? 

Under no circumstances (aided by very poorly documented cargo manifests) could the owners allow the Court of Inquiry to probe too deeply into the heavily laden aspect of the flagship which foundered off the South African coast - screaming liability!


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