"KISMET" AND "NEW ZEALAND" (S.S.)
The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876.
IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at the Town Hall, Hull, on the 16th and 18th days of May 1888, before E. C. TWISS, Esquire, Stipendiary Magistrate, assisted by Captain WARD and Captain WILSON, into the circumstances attending the loss of the British sailing ship "KISMET," of Dartmouth, through collision with the steam trawler "NEW ZEALAND," of Hull, in the North Sea, on the 2nd of May instant, whereby three of the crew of the former vessel were lost.
Report of Court.
The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the above-mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons stated in the annex hereto, that the loss of the said vessel was brought about by collision, which was owing to the fact that neither the "Kismet" nor her lights were seen by those on board the "New Zealand" in sufficient time to avoid it. The Court finds the second hand of the "New Zealand" in default, and suspends his certificate of service as second hand, number 04318, for four calendar months.
The Court does not make any order as to costs.
Dated this 18th day of May 1888.
E. C. TWISS, Judge.
We concur in the above report.
C. Y. WARD,
Annex to the Report.
This inquiry was held at the Town Hall, Hull, when Mr. Saxelbye represented the Board of Trade, Mr. Laverack appeared on behalf of the master and second hand of the "New Zealand," whilst Mr. A. M. Jackson watched the case on the part of the Hull and Grimsby Mutual Fishing Vessels' Insurance Society, and Mr. Hearfield on the part of the underwriters of the "New Zealand." The second engineer of the last mentioned vessel was also a party to this inquiry, and appeared in person, but was not represented professionally.
The "Kismet," official number 73,433, was a ketch-rigged fishing vessel, built of wood at Dartmouth in 1879, and she was owned and managed by Mr. Peter Bates, of Hull. Her dimensions were: length 76 feet, breadth 19 feet, and depth of hold 10 feet, and her registered tonnage 74.62 tons. She was registered at the Port of Dartmouth.
On the 2nd of May instant, the "Kismet" was returning from a fishing cruise in the North Sea, where she had been engaged on the tail end of the Dogger Bank with the Great Northern fleet, bound for Hull. About 2.10 a.m. she was under all plain sail, except mizen topsail, on the port tack, heading about N.W., the weather being very dark but clear, and the wind moderate, when a white light was reported on the weather beam; whereupon the skipper went up aloft with his glasses, and on coming down said that it was a steamer, and that he could make out her white and green lights. About five minutes afterwards all three lights of the steamer were observed by those on board the "Kismet," being distant then apparently about half a mile, and heading straight for them. She came on, and when within about one hundred yards, those on the "Kismet's " deck shouted out, "Hard up, or you will be on the " top of us!" The steamer, however, came straight on, and struck the "Kismet" a very heavy blow about two feet abaft the mizen rigging on the port side, cutting half through her. At the time the skipper, second hand, and cook of the "Kismet" were on the deck, the second hand at the tiller, the third and deck hands being below.
The skipper, upon seeing a collision inevitable, had rushed to the second hand at the tiller and let go the mizen sheet just as the steamer struck her. The cook, whilst the vessels were in collision, jumped on board the steamer, which afterwards proved to be the "New Zealand," and clambered over the bow, and so saved himself. The deck hand, who was turned in below at the time in his bunk on the port side, was aroused by the bow of the steamer coming through his bunk and knocking him on to the cabin floor. He at once rushed on deck and jumped on to the port fore rigging of the steamer, and so escaped. The "Kismet" began to settle down rapidly, and in a very few minutes, having fallen astern of the "New Zealand," she sank by the stern.
Such was the account of the casualty, as given by the two survivors of the crew of the "Kismet."
The "New Zealand," official No. 93,0??6, is a ketch rigged steam trawler or cutter, in both of which capacities she is engaged; built of iron at Beverley, Yorkshire, in 1886, and she is owned by the Hull Steam Fishing and Ice Company, Limited, and is managed by Mr. Richard T. Vivian. Her length is 117 feet, breadth 22 feet, and depth of hold 11 feet, and her tonnage 101 tons net register. She is registered at the Port of Hull.
On the 2nd of May instant, the "New Zealand" was bound from Hull for a trawling cruise in the North Sea, on the fishing grounds, to the southward of Horn Reef, under the command of Mr. William Macgarry, and with a crew of nine hands all told.
About 1.30 a.m. on the day named, the master went below, leaving the vessel in charge of the second hand, the weather being very dark but clear, and the wind and sea moderate.
The vessel was on a course E. 1/2 N.; the engines being at full speed, making a rate of about 10 1/2 knots, the main and mizen sails being set, and the wind varying from W.N.W. to W.S.W., blowing a moderate breeze. We were told that the sails did not obstruct the view.
On the master going below, the second hand took charge, and went on to the bridge, which was amidships, and from which the vessel was steered, and he and the man at the wheel remained there until the casualty which followed.
The vessel continued at full speed until about 2.20 a.m., when the second hand saw the loom of the sails of a smack about 1 1/2 to 2 points on his starboard bow, and very close to, though he had not seen her light, which it was proved was burning brightly. The man at the wheel informed us that he never saw the vessel at all until they were in collision with her. The smoke from the "New Zealand" was very dense at the time, and had been so for the previous four or five minutes, when the second engineer had last "fired up," and it was blowing, as the second hand stated, right ahead of them, or a little on their starboard bow, obscuring at times very greatly the view ahead. Thinking the smack to be on the starboard tack, the second hand ordered the helm hard-a-starboard; this was done at once, and the vessel's head paid off a little when the smack's red light was first observed, and the second hand of the "New Zealand" then seeing a collision imminent, rang the telegraph "stop." Before the engines, however, were stopped, the vessel struck the smack, which, as will have been seen, was the "Kismet," a heavy blow in the manner previously described. The second hand at once pulled off his coat and left the bridge, and rushed forward to endeavour to save life.
After the collision, the "Kismet" swung round on to the port side of the "New Zealand," sliding along her side and passed astern, where in a very few minutes she was observed, as before stated, to sink stern first. As she was dropping alongside, two of her crew, as has been already mentioned, safely jumped on board the steamer, and the second hand of the latter grasped another of the "Kismet's" crew and tried to pull him on board, but he slipped from him, and fell into the water and sank at once. The helmsman of the "New Zealand" informed us that whilst the "Kismet" was passing astern, he observed two men on her deck, and he several times called to them to jump on board, to which they paid apparently no attention. The master of the "New Zealand," who immediately after the collision had been called on deck, at once ordered the engines full speed astern, to follow the sinking vessel, but before any material way was gathered by the steamer, the smack sank. Just after this a cry was heard in the water somewhere astern, and orders were given for lifebuoys to be thrown into the water. Four or five lifebuoys were at once brought from the fore. castle, but as no one was seen in the water, and no more cries were heard, they were not thrown overboard. The boat was also ordered out at the same time. This was kept on chocks, lashed down by gripes, and covered with canvas. Everything was rapidly cut away, but in order to launch her it was necessary to unship three iron stanchions on the vessel's rail; two were duly unshipped, and the master, not being able to get at the third without going round the bow of the boat, ordered it to be unshipped, and received the reply, "Aye, aye, sir!" After which, believing that his order had been carried out, the boat was thrown over and came right on the top of the stanchion, which stove in her side, and caused her to capsize in the water. Seeing that the boat in such a condition was useless, orders were given to bring it in again, and it was hauled in by steam. The "New Zealand" was then kept cruising about the spot where the smack had sunk until about five a.m., but nothing more was seen of the missing three hands of the "Kismet," who must undoubtedly have been drowned. At about 5 a.m. she left the scene of the disaster, and proceeded for Hull, where in due course she arrived.
Such was the narrative, as was gathered from the witnesses who were called from the "New Zealand."
At the conclusion of the evidence, Mr. Saxelbye submitted the following questions upon which the opinion of the Court was desired:â€”
1. What was the cause of the collision?
2. Whether both vessels complied with the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, and particularly the "New Zealand" with Articles 17, 18 and 24, and the "Kismet" with Articles 22?
3. Whether, having regard to the circumstances, the "New Zealand" was justified at going at full speed on the morning of the 2nd May, and whether she ought not to have had a look-out forward?
4. Whether her boat and lifebuoys were so carried as to be fit and ready for immediate use in case of emergency?
5. Whether there was any delay in ordering her boat to be got out, or in getting it out, and how was it that the boat was stove in and rendered useless?
6. Whether every effort was made to save life?
7. Whether both vessels were navigated with proper and seamanlike care?
8. Whether the master and officers of the "New Zealand" are, or either of them, is in default?
The Board of Trade is of opinion that the certificate of the mate of the "New Zealand" should be dealt with.
Mr. Laverack then addressed the Court on behalf of the master and second hand of the "New Zealand," and Mr. Saxelbye having replied on the part of the Board of Trade, the Court in giving judgment answered as follows the questions submitted for its opinion:â€”
1. The collision was owing to the fact that neither the "Kismet" nor her lights were seen by those on board the "New Zealand" until it was too late to be avoided, and according to the evidence, this was attributable to the density of the smoke proceeding at the time from the latter vessel, but taking into consideration the evidence generally, and all the facts of the case, the Court is disposed to think, that notwithstanding the smoke, the red light of the "Kismet" ought to have been seen by those on board the "New Zealand" in ample time to have prevented the collision, and seeing that the lights of the "New Zealand" were for some minutes before the casualty clearly discernible to those on board the "Kismet," it is difficult to under. stand how the red light of the latter vessel should not have been observed by the "New Zealand" if a good and proper look-out had been kept by her.
2. The "New Zealand" did not comply with Articles 17, 18, and 24, of the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. The "Kismet" did comply with Article 22 of the said Regulations.
3. The Court is of opinion that the "New Zealand" was not justified in going at full speed if the smoke from her was as stated in the evidence so dense as to obscure her view of vessels or lights ahead. The Court is not prepared to say that she ought to have had a look-out forward.
4. The lifebuoys should have been kept upon deck instead of in the forecastle, but the boat was so carried as to be ready for immediate use.
5. There was no delay in ordering or getting the boat out, but in the course of launching her she was unfortunately stove in by coming in contact with one of the stanchions, which had by accident -not been unshipped.
6. Every effort was made to save life.
7. The "Kismet" was navigated with proper and seamanlike care, but having regard to the replies previously given to questions 1 and 3 respectively, it cannot be said that the "New Zealand" was.
The master of the "New Zealand" is not, but the second hand is in default, and the Court feels compelled to deal with his certificate, but taking into consideration his antecedents, and the excellent testimonials 'as to character which he has produced, it is disposed to adopt as lenient a course as possible, and adjudges that his certificate of service as second hand, number 04318, be suspended for four calendar months only.
E. C. TWISS, Judge.
C. Y. WARD.