« EdellinenJatka »
J. C. Macdona,
20 April 1894.
" the next division. The next division of the report is and destroying them. In a return that has been got " as follows :-(2.) Derelicts in the North Atlantic. out at the Board of Trade within the last three years “ In the North Atlantic, particularly in that part of it there have been 103 casualties to British ships attributed
bordering the North American Coast westward of a - not really attributable, perhaps, because some may be “ line drawn from the Bermuda Islands to Cape Race, wrong-to floating wrecks or wreckage, and out of those “ Newfoundland, derelicts are so frequently met with, 103 only seven have struck derelicts-actual floating " that they must be considered a serious danger to vessels either bottom up or floating right side upp
navigation. As in these waters, the vessels whose What happened to those seven, might I ask ? " safety is imperilled by their existence are exceed. ingly numerous, the number of persons on board of
60. These cases are stated to have been due to striking
a vesse). None was lost and none was seriously damaged. " them very large, and the value of these ships and is their cargoes very great, and as, moreover, the
Ninety-six casualties are stated to have been due to -- chances for locating derelicts and for determining and of these two small coasting vessels were lost';
striking wreckage, such as logs of timber and spars, the direction of their drift are particularly favourable, the Committee propose that the various mari
therefore, do you not think that we shall have to conjime Powers should come to some agreement respect.
sider whether a timber-laden vessel should be broken ing their removal. In case this proposition should
up or not P-Should be broken up. “ be entertained, it is submitted that the respective
61. Should be broken up and her timbers released ? Powers should also come to some understanding re- -Her timber might be burnt up at once; they might
garding the proprietary rights which may still exist, pour petroleum oil on it to burn it up at once, and stay * whether in the ship or in her cargo. Besides this, it alongside it until it is burnt.
seems desirable to point out that amongst other 62. But my chief point was that you were unaware of “ matters that will necessarily have to be considered, what we have been doing on our own coasts P-Yes, it
it would be well to take steps to prevent the destruc- is news to me, but I am very glad to hear it. “tion of derelicts that might readily have been saved, “ and to make sure that in case destruction has been
63. You have not analysed the wrecks marked on decided upon, no evidence of crime should be des
the pilot charts, I suppose, sufficiently to see that many troyed also.” Therefore, at this Conference, in which
of the derelicts are merely logs of wood on the American 27 Maritime Powers were represented by 62 delegates,
coast, and they would be numbered there as derelicts, they came to the unanimous conclusion that practically
but now we are defining a derelict not as a log of wood,
but as an actual vessel P-Just so. it could not be done ?-Because of the matter of expense, I should think.
64. That will alter the statistics that have been put 5!). On that do you think that Great Britain had
before the public in connexion with the United States'
charts P-Yes. better open the question again as to an international agreement being come to ?-I do. Great Britain might 65. Do you know if anyone has examined it with that do it on her own account, irrespective of all other
view P_The whole thing is quite new. I expect it will nations, for her own safety.
be examined in future. 51. But do you think that other countries would join 66. (Mr. Trevor.) Sir George Nares' last question us -I should think the Americans certainly will. It leads me to ask you, what I was anxious to do, how does not much matter that the others should.
would you define a floating derelict P—I would define 52. You stated that the United States Government
a floating derelict as what had been or is a ship, or the have fitted out two steamers for this purpose already?
principal part of a ship, abandoned. -Yes.
67. And you would not include in that definition & :53. Do you know what we have been doing ourselves
single spar or a single floating deal of timber P-I in Great Britain for many years past P-No, but I
would scarcely call that a derelict, but certainly if it
was encountered it should be destroyed. should be very glad to know. All I know is that the men-of-war and steamers have to report what derelicts
68. Destroyed--would not that be rather difficult they see.
with a floating spar 2-1 do not think so. It could be 51. Do you know that the Trinity House alone have
grappled. It is a floating spar; it could be easily dealt during the last 5 years up to the 31st March with
grappled and hauled up. 423 cases of floating derelicts or wrecks or floating 69. Referring to the question you asked in Parlialogs of wood round our coasts P--Sunken wrecks I do, ment on the 30th of last month, might I ask from but not floating derelicts.
whom you got your information in the case of the
“ Larne.” 55. But without giving the actual numbers, because
Do you adopt the information given in
respect of that vessel?_Yus. I got it from an I only got the return in last night, a great number of thene, certainly about a dozen, have been towed into
authentic source, but I would prefer not to mention it. harbour by the Trinity House vessels.-Just so.
70. In this case, as stated in the answer to the ques. 56. And also that vessels on the coast of Ireland and
tion that was given to you in Parliament, we have the of Scotland are treated in the same way P--Is that a
deposition of the master of the vessel, who being duly
sworn deposed as follows : That he was the master duty, or have they any rules as to searching for these
of the steamship Larne,” and then he gives parti. derelicts ?
culars of the voyage, and to the usual question that is 57. Most decidedly. I want to ask you if you know asked him by coastguards or Customs' officials, or that immediately they hear of a derelict the lighthouse
whoever it is who asks, he answers that in his opinion authorities for years past have sent their vessels out
the cause of the casualty was “probably the striking of with a view of searching for them and removing them ?
a floating spar." Now, from your definition, I suppose -I am very glad to hear it; I did not know it.
you would hardly call this a collision with a derelict P58. In this Trinity House return we have got actually Not a derelict. My definition was that a derelict was 39 cases in which they have gone out perhaps twice, and a poruicn of a ship. searched for them, and nothing has been found. Do
71. But in your question of course it is three weeks you know that practically what the Americans are
ago nearly-you asked whether we were aware that doing now has been done on our coast for years and
the vessel was “smushed by a floating derelicu” |--Yes, years past, and are you aware that the only derelict
that was the question. Upon inquiry I got the capreported in the pilot chart as having been actually
tain's statement, the same as you have got there, and picked up at sea by a Gorernment vessel wins a vessel
if it is not to be published, I will give you the name of laden with timber, and that when she destroyed this
gentleman who gave me the information. single derelict she released a large number of dangerous articles; and scattered them about to create more
72. If you would rather withhold it I do not mind ? danger than the derelict would have created herself
-I have not got his leare for it, that is all. I doubt that very much about creating more danger.
73. You have told us that the information has always She released a certain amount of wooden logs and a been given to you, and I do not think, unless the vessel coming against a wooden log very seldom comes
Chairman wishes it, that the name need bo given. against it end on. She is sure to flange off and pass (Chairman.) No by without doing any harm. In my view they would
(The witness.) It is a well-known gentleman of not be a source of great danger, otherwise than with Cabinet rank. regard to getting under the screws of vessels, which is
74. Then there is one question more. You said that a danger certainly.
you preferred Great Britain moving in this matter if 59. The releasing of logs of wood is a very impor- possible without the concurrence of other countries ? — tant matter we find in connexion with these derelicts I would have preferred it.
75. Have you considered at all the difficulty of one 95. By telegraph P-Yes, certainly. Macdona, country, without arrangement with other countries,
96. When would that information reach Liverpool, M.P. destroying a derelict belonging to a foreigner :--That
say ? - It would reach Liverpool next day. is what I mean, I mean if England has not the 20 April 1894. requisite consent to destroy derelicts of other countries,
97. That is 12 hours more ?–12 hours more. she should do it on her own account.
98. What wonld be the difference in the position of --76. Then I must have misunderstood your answer. I
the derelict by that time?—The probability is that the
derelict would be found in the Gulf Stream, floating so took it that you were anxious that Great Britain should move in the matter without previously coming to some
many miles an hour in a certain direction, which might
be calculated. arrangement with foreign countries ?-She should arrange with foreign countries as to dealing with 99. A captain sighting a derelict would be able to foreign derelicts.
ascertain, you think, what was the tendency of the
current in the water at that particular moment, and 77. Without an arrangement with foreign countries would be able to estimate where she was going P-Not á British ship could not destroy a South American or the captain, but the Hydrographers here and at North American ship, for example ?–My statement
Washington have studied the currents so well that was made on the ground of the report of the Washing
they could fix within a few miles where the derelict ton Conference meeting of 1887. If other nations
100. Five or six hours afterwards ? — Yes.
much coal as possible, but not necessarily always to 78. But you agree that it could not be done without
use it, but adapted to go over certain tracks, and I their concurrence-the objection is not on the ground
would suggest that the men should receive training in
looking out for these derelicts, and when they found of expense; they might agree to go to the expense of it, but their concurrence in the act of destruction would
them they should go alongside and stick to them until be necessary 2–I candidly confess I am not so well up
they destroyed them with the best means in their in international law as to know whetber the English or
. any other nation would have the right to blow up any 102. Considering the area of the Atlantic, how many foreign ship in those circumstances.
vessels do you think it would take to make any effective
search P-I should think that with the commerce we 79. I doubt very much whether we could do it with. out their concurrence ?— That is a point.
have on the Atlantic we ought to have a good number
of vessels. But I will be content as far as my action in 80. Then the only other question I have to ask is, the matter goes if the British Government will simply have you communicated with Lloyd's as to your Bill have two for the present. that is down for Second Reading to-night?—Yes.
103. How many derelicts have you estimated at all 81, No Lloyd's agree —They agree.;
that two vessels told off to search the Atlantic would 82. They accept the responsibility :-Yes.
find in crossing it?-I think two vessels off the coast
of the Atlantic ought to find, judging by the number 83. (Sir Courtenay Boyle.) Have you got any evidence
of derelicts that have been reported, at least balf a to satisfy yourself as to the nature of the derelicts; is
104. You think half a dozen each ?_Yes, that would timber ships.
be 12 altogether. 84. What are the physical steps that you would take
105. Have you ascertained that probably the highest to do what you call destroy a timber ship P-Iwould go estimate received yet of the number of derelicts in the alongside of it with a vessel, and I suppose it would be Atlantic is about 23 P-But if you have got 12 out of 23 possible to pump out some of the water; and to pour you do very well. petroleum or other inflammable stuff into her bottom 106. And do you think that two vessels would find a in order to set it on fire.
little more than half the whole number— 12 out of 2: ? 85. Do you think it would burn 2-I am not an --A vessel going out with that special object in view, authority on the subject so as to be able to say whether and especially if they adopted that plan I suggest of it would or not.
laying by at night with an electric light from the main
mast, all the rest of the vessels knowing that she 86. We are anxious to get your views on the matter, and to see what you really would do; wonld you burn
was a derelict searcher would go out of their way to it ?Burn it.
107. Have you no other suggestion as to destroying 87. Yon would not blow it up, but burn it?-I would burn it.
them than that of burning them ?-I have.
tioned the case of timber ships, but iron vessels very 88. You think it would burn P-I think the scientific often have the keel upwards, but they could be blown advances of the nineteenth contury are such that you
up. could find means to sink it some way or another.
108. Have you satisfied yourself of any instance of 89. With regard to the Bill; the Bill would operate an iron vessel floating P-Yes, there is tbat case of the in this way, as I understand it, that the master of a ves: el at Glasgow, and there was a case of the west ship or the captain of a ship coming across what he coast of Ireland, and one of my own questions referred believes to be a derelict, would communicate with to it before the House of Commons." In that case she Lloyd's as to the position in which that derelict was ; was seen with her keel upwards floating about, and a how long afterwards would that information reach vessel in that position would be worse than any rock Lloyd's P-Ho might communicate with Lloyd's agent, for a seagoing vessel going upon it, and if the captain and there might be arraugements made wiith Lloyd's of a vesse! heard of that, and knew that they would agents to have that information telegraphed imme- be likely to come into contact, with it, they would prodiately to Lloyd's.
vide accordingly. In such cases the veshei should be 90. Even so, in what time would the information discovered and never left till destroyed. reach Lloyd's P-Next day I should think.
109. (Captain Wharton.) May we take it that the 91. Within 12 hours ?- Within 12 hours.
justification of the adoption of any measure that 92. And that information would then be how treated ?
involves money is the amount of danger existing, or
in other words the frequency with which derelicts are --Immeniately furnished to the Board of Trade.
fallen in with P-Yes.
110. What sort of percentage should you consider give information to all under its control—to all English ships sunk per annum:-I would not go by the number
would justify us in spending any money—how many ports,
of derelicts that have been found. I take it in con94. To all ports P-To all ports. ,
nexion with the number of derelicts tbat we assume or J.C. Macdona,
20 Apr 1894.
the number of vessels that we know to have been lost, 125. Did you ever see this telegram from New York and of which no report, has ever been given. Although of March 30th, “ Bottle picked up, New York, March they may have come to be destroyed by running upon 30th. The 'Sun's' Norfolk correspondent' telean iceberg or anything else, yet I assume they are graphs that a champagne bottle has been found on derelicts for the sake of argument. Now, put against “ the beach at Ocean View, Virginia, containing a that the number of passengers that travel from Eng- letter alleged to have been written by John Olsen, land to America every year, and every week the total a cattleman, on board the White Star steamer is something enormous.. Going back to the history of Naronic.' It is dated February 19th, and runs as the past passenger trade, we know that several passen- “ follows:- The ship is fast sinking It is snch a ger steamers have been enormously crowded, and have • storm that we can never live in the small boats. been lost. Take the case of the "City of Boston,” and “ • One bout with its human cargo has already sunk. of a lot of vessels that we have never heard of, and of We have been struck by an iceberg in the blinding all those people that have gone down in them and been
The ship has floated for two hours. It is lost- dead men tell no tales. In calculating what we "' now 3.20 in the morning, and the deck is level with should do, we should remember that traffic on the ocean 'the sea.'. In conclusion the writer asks the finder is increasing every year: The passenger service “ of the letter to report to Messrs. Kerseys, the New between England and America is increasing enor- “ York agents of the line.” Do you still think the mously, and if one vessel only runs on a derelict and is “Naronic".was lost by collision with a derelict? destroyed the thousands of pounds that might be spent In answer to thet I would simply say that those who by the English Government in looking after its own have travelled much at sea, especially on the passenger people are surely well spent in saving one ship in 20 steamers between New York and Liverpool, know that years, say, if you like. I will put it in that way, amongst silly fools it is a very absurd way of practical that is the extreme way of putting it.
joking to send messages in bottles, throwing them 111. Bat, even with that argument, you admit that
overboard. When that report appeared it was classified the amount of money should bear some proportion to
as a practical joke. When a vessel is known to have the object on which it is spent. Supposing it cost 10
gone down there are many silly fools who do that sort millions a year to do it, would you consider the country
of thing who really ought to be punished if one could would be justified in spending that sum if it was proved punish them for playing practical jokes of that'sort. I that one vessel was lost within ühe last 10 years ?—That
have seen it done on board steamers on the way to
America, and it is a lamentable thing. I hope it is not is a very extreme way of putting it, 10 millions for the sake of one ship, but I think the money element should
true in this case, but it is known to be frequently done. largely and liberally enter into the calculation.
126. But still you think it is more likely she was 112. But will you not allow that we must have some
struck by a derelict which we do not know to have evidence first on the subject. You say you assume
existed, than that she struck on the ice, of which there that these vessels are destroyed by derelicts P-Yes.
were thousands of square miles P-I believe so myself,
and I believe the people in Belfast believed so, where 113. Would not it be better if you could get some she was built, as well as the Chamber of Commerce. I direct evidence, so as to make the case much stronger ? do not know the ground they have, except that people –Of course, if you could.
on board these steamers are always on the look out for 114. You mentioned many steamers as having been ice, but they cannot guard against a derelict. lost, and large vessels, but do you know of any large 127. As sailors we cannot agree with you, because vessel that you believe even to have been lost by
there is nothing to warn one of the approach of ice thece coming into contact with derelicts ?-I mentioned the
at all P-I was startled to hear Sir George Nares' case of the “ City of Boston.”
observation tu that effect. 115. Can you
tell us of
128. I have had a great deal of experience, and from That was not a passenger ship, but was built for cargo, observations that have been taken, I can assure you yet she had a good number of passengers on board. that the fall in temperature is absolutely no guide
116. Do you consider that she was wrecked by a at all to the approach of ice. 1 tell you that of my derelict ?–Certainly; and that is the opinion of the absolute knowledge. I have paid a great deal of Chamber of Commerce of Belfast where she was built. attention to the case, and it is a thing we used to teach 117. Do you know that the “ Naronic" crossed the
our young officers, that the approach of ice might be
so found out, but the theory was founded upon entirely Atlantic in February 1893 ?—Yes.
erroneous statements, and there has been such a mass 118. Do you know that in her track there was a large of evidence to the contrary, that we cannot arcept it for field of ice 300 miles long which she had to pass one moment. Then, with regard to your proposition through P–That is the previous journey.
about the marking of derelicts, and informing people of 119. No, that was the same journey?-She had nine
derelicts, how do you propose that should be made use journeys.
of by sailors. Supposing that a sailor knows a derelict
is in a certain latitude and longitude, what d) you 120. She was on her seventh voyage, but I mean, think he will do P-If we had this searching ship, and if when lost, there was in her track a very large amount the sailor happened to come across it at night, it would of ice at the time she was lost P--I believe there was. be his duty to report it.
121. In that case, there were several hundreds of 129. I mean tbe vessel sailing. The Board of Trade
130. He would keep a sharper look out u in usual p-
Yes. 122. Do you know that of your own knowledge ? — I bave often been on the look out, and I have watched 131. That is the sole thing he could do?—That is the and seen the men at it, and I have crossed over the sole thing he could do under the circumstances. Atlantic many times.
132. If you told the look-out every night that he was 123. How are they to see a piece of ice floating level to keep a sharp look out because there might be a with the water ?— They do not see it except in the day- derelict within 100 miles, do not you think it would get time. They would see a dark thing on the water, but rather monotonons after a time –I do not think it they feel the ice first-they feel the change in the would do any harm to keep a sharp look out. atmosphere.
133. Your experience of sailors leads you to believe 124. That is a question that has been very closely
that they would keep a sharper look out at night and largely gone into P—It is a technical question, and
than usual under those circumstances P-I think it those in authority like Sir George Nares understand
would be very advisable to keep a sharp look out if the matter much better, and can give an opinion. But
there is a chance of falling in with a derelict, even if I have crossed the Atlantic several times, and the
there is no certainty. feeling of all the navigators I have ever been with is 134. Of course it would be, but the vessels go so fast that they dread running on a derelict much more than now-a-days, that if you do not report a vossel ahead, the prospect of running upon ico.
in an instant you may have a collißion, and how can a
J. C. man look out any better than he does now P_If you Macdona,
believe what sailors tell you they look out very badly M.P. now on sailing ships.
135. You think the mere fact of telling them to look 20 April 1894. out for a derelict, rather than for anything else, wonld
make them look out more sharply R-Yos, I believe it would. People dread the unseen and the unknown more than anything else.
136. That is the only precaution that they could take to avoid them P-It is part of it.
137. Do you know whether the Cunard ships, which have traversed the Atlantic longer than any other line, have often seen derelicts. Have you any evidence to show from them the great danger which these derelicts are P-I know that the officers of the Cunard steamers signed the petition to the Board of Trade. I know that much, but I do not know that they saw any more than anybody else. They take a different route from any other line of steamers.
138. Should you be astonished to hear that in all the years the Cunard vessels have traversed the Atlantic, as far as the Company make out, there have only been six or seven cases in the whole years of their travelling. You understand what I am driving at-it is the question of frequency P—I quite understand.
139. My view is that we are not justified in doing anything unless the danger is great. You are quite right to assume on your side that the danger is great, and that all these ships are lost by derelicts, but do not you think the Government should ascertain, as far as they can, whether that is so or not?— Yes, quite so.
140. This is a letter from the manager of the Cunard Company on that subject: “The Cunard " Steamship Company, Limited, General Manager's “ Office, 8, Water Street, Liverpool, April 16th, 1894— “ Dear sir: We shall be most happy to facilitate the
object of your chairman and his committtee, but I
am really at a loss whom to send. The writer has “been watching the various ship’s reports for the last “ decade for any derelicts reported on the North “ Atlantic route, and though any information of such
is usually exchanged between the principals of the " various lines, he does not remember more than two
or three derelicts in the whole of that time, and is of “ opinion that none of our masters, even those that “ have been crossing for 30 years, have seen more "6 than half a dozen in the whole course of their
experience. It would therefore seem purposeless
sending a representative to say so little ; but if you “ think otherwise, I am entirely at your service to " send one of our captains to give his experience.” That is signed by the general manager P-Might not that arise from the fact that the Cunard steamers invariably take a more southern route than any other line.
141. Then the derelicts always go in one line, do you mean P-No; but if there is greater traffic in one line than in another there is more likely to be collisions with derelicts there than in another line which is not so inuch frequented.
142. You mentioned just now, I think, in your remarks that the “Kearsage” had been hoist by her own petard ; that is to say she had run upon a derelict ? -I was under that impression.
143. Do you know that the captain has been sentenced by court-martial for neglect of duty for the wrecking
of his vessel on a well-known reef in the Carribean Soa P--Then I withdraw what I said. I was not sure.
144. You have said that the Americans for many years bave been taking steps to destroy wrecks. Can you tell us for how many years 2–Three years nearly.
145. You have that information - Yes.
146. What does that information rest upon-as to the three years—where do yon get that from P—I have got that from Mr. Jaffe.
147. I can tell you my information is that the first action on the part of the United States was in June, 1893 P-Not before then?
148. Not before then.
149. (Sir George Nares.) And then it was on their own coast.
150. (Captain Wharton.) The “Kearsage” was sent on a short cruise and then wrecked. The other vessel, the “ Vesuvius " was a ship which had not gone at all except to destroy wrecks along the shore, which as Sir George Nares has pointed out, has been done in this country under Act of Parliament for many many years, so that now you can relieve your mind on the point of this country being behindhand. We have done for many years what the United States have done for one year?-Not only should we not be behindband, but we should be very much to the fore in that matter. I am very glad to hear we are not behind, for I certainly thought we were.
151. There was a question asked in the House of Commons in which you mentioned that there were 400 derelicts ?—That is wrong. It is a misprint that originated in Washington. It was a misprint of 400 for 40.
152. (Sir George Nares.) Have you seen the Pilot Chart issued for April P-No, I have not.
153. It appears by that Chart that there are only six derelicts that are at all near the line between the English Channel and New York, and that out of those six, three were reported in February. Now what I am aiming at is to know whether you have any information ay to the life of a derelict-how long she floats—besides those long drifts that you have told us about ?— That is the only information I have. In the matter of a wooden ship, some “ Black Ball” line of Australian ships are afloat now I am told, travelling up and down, and if they become derelict, they last an interminable time. Nothing will sink them, because they are old timber ships. so there is nothing to prevent an old timber ship living for 50 years if nndisturbed.
154. As far as the United States information gocs, there are only six derelict vessels, and four of them have not been seen since February, and therefore may we not take it that most of these have sunk by this time? --I hope so; but I do not know that we have any reason to take it that they have sunk.
155. They have withdrawn from the Chart all vessels that bare been sighted previously so that I suppose we may take it that the United States Hydrogiapher considers that all the others previously reported, but not met with lately have gone to the bottom P_There is one question that will infuence this subject of derelicts very much, that is that we are building less wooden ships now every year, and there ought to be legs derelicts.
The iritness withdrew.
Mr. O. Jaffe,
20 April 1894.
Mr. Otto Japre called and examined.
Chamber of Commerce, I had seen some notice in a 156. (Chairman.) You are a member of the Belfast paper--I am not able to give the name of it—that the Chamber of ('ommerce, are you not?--Yes.
United States were taking steps to destroy derelic:3, 157. And a shipowner ?--A shipowner.
and I thought that the British Government might see
their way to join. That was the origin of my bringing 158. Will you give us any information that you the subject before the Chamber of Commerce, and it possess that will assist the Committee in carrying out was gradually taken up by one Chamber of Commerce their inquiry into the danger to navigation arising from and another. Mr. Macdona interested himself in the floating derelicts ?--I have very little information on subject before I did. I saw in the month of July a the subject, except as to the time when the “Horn- notice of his having done so. I myself struck a derelict “ head,” a Belfast owned steamer, and the “ Naronic,” some 20 years ago as passenger on board a steamer, at a steamer built in Belfast, were both lost without least it was presumed to be a derelict. It was at night leaving any trace whatever, and it was presumed they time. I was reading in the saloon, and I felt most dis. struck a derelict. Some week previous to the 16th tinctly the shock we got and the grating noise, and at of November, when I introduced this subject to the the same moment our propeller was gone.
159. (Mr. Trevor.) Was that in the Atlantic P-- In the Atlantic, about 600 miles from Queenstown.
160. (Chairman.) What was the name of the steamer ? - The "Celtic," one of the White Star Line of steamers.
161. We have bere a long list of damage to ships, but where has this information come from? You have sent it, I believe ? -No, the Navy Department have. The Board of Trade records I have got here from the Navy Department at the Hydrographic Office in Washington of the 4th of December 1893. 162. Will yon read that ?—"Navy Department, Bureau of Navigation, Hydrographic Office, Washington, D.C., December 4th 1893. Sir: In reply to
your letter of November 22nd requesting full par“ ticulars relative to the statements made by you at " the meeting of the Belfast Chamber of Cominerce in “ the matter of derelicts, this office can substantiate
your statements excepting in respect to the number " of derelicts charted and afloat on the edge of the " Gulf Stream between Cape Hatteras and the Great " Banks of Newfoundland.” When I introduced the subject, through a misunderstanding of a report of a captain I made a statement that 400 derelicts were met with between Cape Hatteras and the Banks of Newfoundland, and I was anxious to get that statement confirmed by the Hydrographic Oflice, as it was presumed that the siatement was made by this captain at the Hydrographic Office, and it appears that it is not 400 reports of derelicts, but 400 weather reports that daily come into the Hydrographic Office, and this that I am reading is in answer to my inquiry whether I was right or not. Now they give the real substance of the matter. “During the five years from 1887 to “ 1891 the number of derelicts, wrecks, &c., charted on “ the Pilot chart was 957, of which 332 had iheir drift “ tracks plotted. This shews an average of 16 for “ each month of the time covered. It is also found “ from the figures in our possession that a derelict “ remains afloat for an average of 30 days. These
figures pertain to the North Atlantic and to the “ most frequented channels of commerce in the North “ Atlantic, but not all that were reported were " between Cape Hatteras and the Great Bauks. The “ number cbarted on the October Pilot chart in that
vicinity was 14. In regard to collisions with dere“ licts, this office has a record of 38 collisions during “ the years cited—an average of nearly eight annually. “ Lumber laden derelicts remain afloat longer than any “ other class. But two cases of iron derelicts remain
ing afloat for any great length of time ara on record " in this office. One is the cual-laden iron sbip. Ada “ • Iredale'; she was on fire from a spontaneous con"s bastion of her cargo of coal, and was abandoned on “ October 15, 1876, in Lat. 13° 30' S., Long. 107° 45' “ W.; she was towed into Papeete, Society Islands, " June 9, 1877. Her drist was 2,423 miles. She was
repaired, and is now in service as the bark ‘Annie " 'Johnson. The other is the coal-laden iron ship " • Oriflamme' abandoned on fire June 18, 1881, in “ Lat. 18° 12' S., Long. 92° 42' W., she drifted ashore
on Raroria Island, Low Archipelago, February 12, “ 1882, after drifting 2840 miles.” I believe these letters have been published.
(Chairman.) Yes, we have got a copy here in the Liverpool Journal of Commerce.
163. (Mr. Trevor.) Who is the letter from P-From the Hydrographic Office—from Mr. Sigsbee, Commander of the United States Navy and Hydrographer, and it is addressed to myself.
164. (Chairman.) Can you tell me from whom the Hydrographer gets his information ?-I do not know if the whole letter is published. It goes on : “ Vessels of " the United States have been employed occasionally” -I sappose that paragraph is not published—“have “ been employed occasionally during the past five
years in destroying aud reinoving wrecks and dere. “ licts; 36 have been destroyed or removed since 1887. " Recently the Kearsage, Vesuvius,' and 'Fern’ " have been active in destroying wrecks, complaints “ from ghipping companies having been very argent. " The last dangerons wreck destroyed was by the · Kear.
sage,' namely, the 'John Holland,' off' Cape Henry,
Virginia, on November 3, 1893. The San Fran• cisco’ also destroyed one. Recent pilot charts have - contained sufficiently full particulars of these opera“ tions. Although it has been the practice to assign " naval vessels to destroy wrecks and derelicts, when
“ circumstances have permitted, there has been no one Mr. 0. Jaffe. “ vessel detailed exclusively for this work.” 165. Yes; but that does not quite meet my point ?-
20 Apri 1894. Then comes the next paragraph: “ The Hydrographic “ Office has 11 branch offices and nearly 3,000 volun. “ tary weather observers. Our observers report to the “ branch offices all wrecks and derelicts sighted. T'ho
reports are forwarded daily to the main office and special cases are immediately reported to the Secre.
tary of the Navy by the Hydrographer. If the case “ is deemed urgent operations are begun against the " wreck by telegraphic orders. This office receives
daily an average of over 400 meteorological reports “ of the North Atlantic from co-operative voluntary “ observers." Those are captains and 1st and 2nd officers, mostly of steamers, and mostly of British steamers, as the majority of the traflic is done by British ships : “ With these reports sent in daily from the branch “ offices come special reports of wrecks and derelicts
sighted as reported by our voluntary observers and as extracted from newspapers wherever available. Although our observers constitute a very efficient
patrol of the tracks most frequented, without doubt " there are many derelicts afloat that are never re
ported. It is regretted that the list of cable words sent by you with your letter of November 22nd does
not cover the state of the case, as I have reported in " this letter; that is to say, the Office could not cable " that there were not 400 derelicts from Hatteras to " the banks of Newfoundland, but that the · Kearsege' “ had been cruising. In addition to the Pilot Chart " this Office publishes a weekly bulletin of matter for "o which there is not sufficient room on the Pilot Chart. “ The Bulletin contains a list of wrecks and derelicts
reported. The spirit shown by our body of voluntary " observers, which includes mariners of all nations, is
inost admirable. There seems to be no trouble “ within the bounds of reason that they will not
willingly uvdertake in behalf of this Office. They | appreciate the fact that our work is co-operative in
its character ; that a report sent in by each indi. “ vidual is compared with the reports from other
sources, and that all which is directly valuable is sent out again for the general benefit. There is sent you to-day a copy of the Hydrographer's Annual
Report for each of the years 1891, 1892, and 1893. “ There was also sent you on November 27th one copy " of the Pilot Chart for each month of June, July,
August, and September, three copies of the ()ctober “ and November Pilot Charts, three copies of the
Supplement to the November number, three copies “ of the Wreck Chart, and one copy each of the
Weekly Bulletin for the month of November.
Thanking you for your interest, and wishing yon " and the Chamber of Commerce of Belfast success in
your undertaking to bring the matter of wrecks and “ derelicts to the favourable attention of the British “ Government, -I am, yours respectfully, C. D. SIGSBEE, " Commander, U.S. Navy, Hydrographer."
166. Have you much personal knowledge of the navigation to America ?--No, except as a passenger I would not consider I had.
167. Do reports that reach you confirm what the Hydrographer says ?-I have got here the report of the “ Cragside.” That is one of the last ships that is presumed to have struck a derelict.
108. But we should know as accurately as possible the details of the striking, and what sort of derelict it
Does it give that p—No, it struck her going from Boston to Montreal.
169. That was prastically in territorial water, or almost sop-In Canadian waters. I do not kuuw the light sufficiently. It says in the protest “On the 19th “ when Green Island light country harbour in the
connty of Guysborough Province o: Nova Scotia was
course. They continued on this course until · Green “ Island' light bore north five miles distant as will
carefully ascertained by taking four points bearings. “ The course was then altered to east by south, and
they proceeded on weather being fine except a hazy
atmosphere and a heary sea running on to the shore. “ The horizon, however, could be clearly seen a distance “ of from two to three miles. At 11 p.m. Green Island “ light disappeared. About midnight they sighted " Whitehead, the light being nearly north-east, and
from six to seven miles distant. At this tire ship