LOSS OF THE STEAMSHIP
BOARD OF TRADE INQUIRY AT GARDIFF.
A Board of Trade inquiry was held at the Town hall Cardiff on Thursday by Mr.T.W.Lewis stipendiary magistrate, sitting with two nautical assessors into the circumstances of the stranding of the steamship Rover belonging to Sir John Gunn of Cardiff. Which took place in Whiting Bay near Youghal on July 7.
Mr.G.Robertson of Messrs Ivor Vachell and Co. appeared on behalf of the Board of Trade and Mr.D.Maclean represented the Captain. Mr.Robertson stated that the Rover was built in 1874 and in 1894 was re-engined.
The vessel which was of 82 tons register left Youghal On July 7 in charge of a pilot who did not leave until the Black Ball Ledge was passed. He then gave instructions to the Captain as to the course to steer. After the pilot left a thick fog was encountered and the speed was reduced. Shortly afterwards land was seen ahead. The master gave instructions to go astern and put the helm to Port. The steering chains refused to act and the vessel stranded.
It was alleged that the compasses were defective. Mr.Gough accountant to Sir John Gunn who had the management of the vessel gave particulars as to the inspection of the compasses and as to the general condition of the vessel. She was insured for £2,250 and her declared value was £4,500.
The Captain William Thomas Luen gave evidence When the fog was encountered the speed was slackened and the whistles kept going. Very shortly afterwards land was seen directly ahead and he at once gave orders to the engineer to reverse the engines. At the same time he put the helm hard to port but the wheel chain clogged. The engines had been going astern about two minutes when the vessel struck. The coarse indicated by the pole compass was S.E. by S. He had found the compasses defective when temporarily in charge of the vessel previously but the Captain when he rejoined refused to have them altered. For this reason witness had not complained of them on this occasion.
A number of witnesses were subsequently called and there was a divergence of opinion between the chief engineer and the Captain as to the orders given. The former stated that he never received any order to reverse the engines and as a matter of fact they were working ahead after the vessel struck. Another witness stated that the order to reverse was not given until the moment of stranding.
Mr. Maclean replied on the whole case and suggested, as the Captain had stated that the needle of the compass must have stuck and the vessel than went wide of her course The decision will Be given at three o'clock today (Friday).
Western Mail, Cardiff, Friday, August 11, 1899