The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY, MAY 4, 1880.
It is with much pleasure that we publish a cablegram we received last night from Auckland regarding the missing training ship Atalanta. With the 16ss of the Eurydice still fresh in people’s memories, the long absence of the Atalanta was the source of great uneasiness, and it was begun to be feared that she had shared the same fate as the Eurydice. But the cablegram received : by Commodore Wilson, of the Wolverine, yesterday, puts the matter, at rest, as it announces her safe arrival in England. The message is necessarily meagre, giving no hint as to where :she has been, or why she went ©missing. But, the information that she
is safe will be sufficiently satisfactory to all who read the telegram, and we can well afford to for details as to her detention - till . some more, convenient season.
A most remarkable inquiry was made last week in Wellington— a case of peculiar. interest to ail who have to travel by bur coasting steamers. Our telegrams last week made our readers acquainted with an accident that occurred to the steamer Manawatu while on a voyage between Wanganui and Wellington, by which the boilers were rendered useless, and the vessel had to make her way to a by-port under sail. From gross carelessness on the part of those in charge of the steamer, the boiler was allowed to become encrusted with salt to a dangerous degree, and hence the accident. But the most extraordinary part of the affair comes out in the evidence given before the Court of Inquiry. It appears that the only certificated engineer on board was a man named Symons, and he stoutly asserts that he joined the steamer only for the trip, and he was to receive “no remuneration—no nothing,” for his presence. He was simply to be there while the other man, Seager, who held no certificate, worked the engines. The inference from this, of course, is that he went on board the Manawatu to enable her owners to evade the law that requires them to carry a certificated engineer, and the facts—which came out in evidence—that he never signed articles, but that his name was signed by the purser for him in his absence, and the chief officer , added his as the attesting witness, give a certain color of truthfulness to the construction he wishes to put upon his connection with the vessel. The Captain asserts that ,he always looked upon Symons as the officer in charge ; Seager says that he did not go as engineer of the vessel, and was to receive no pay for his work, he being only with the vessel in the interest of his brother, who was contractor for repairs on the steamer, and Seager only went to seethe working of the air pump; Mr. Martin, evidently manager of the Company, asserts that Symons was engaged at £lB a month, as engineer, and Seager was not recognised as engineer at all. Between the lot of them, however the Manawatu’s boiler was allowed to go to pieces, and the lives of the crew and passengers were risked. It does seem peculiar, too, that Seager should have done all the work about the engines on the trip while Symons looked on, and only relieved Seager for a spell of four hours. The evidence certainly is against poor Symons, and on it he has been deprived of bis certificate for three months. But the question very naturally arises— How comes it that, with all our maritime laws, it is possible for a number of men to get aboard a steamer, each on a misunderstanding as to his neighbor’s position—a misunderstanding that might result, as this one resulted, in an accident, and one that may not end as this one ended, with no loss of life? There is a screw loose somewhere, and, as usual, nobody is to blame, I ut we hope we have not heard the last of the affair.