THE WRECK OF THE TARARUA.
The Court of Enquiry. [by telegraph.] Dunedin, To-day. The judgment in the Tararua enquiry was given to-day. The Court found that the wreck and loss of life was primarily caused through the failure of Captain Garrard to ascertain at 4 a.m. on April 29th the correct position of the ship, when the simple use of the lead would have told the distance off the shore. That the course in which the Tararua was steered from 1.30 to 4 a.m., assuming the compasses were magnetically correct, was an insecure course, and therefore improper, especially as a heavy swell and ebb-tide tended to set the vessel in-shore, That at 4.35, when the second officer first called the captain’s attention to a noise of breakers, the vessel was off Slope Point, and in dangerous proclivity thereto, but the captain believed her to be off Waipapa Ppipt. '
That, although it is to bo regretted that the second officer did • not exercise the power which he had, to stop the engines if he found the ship in imminent danger when, for the second time, he fancied he heard breakers, we cannot come to the conclusion that his not doing so was a negligent omission. It was reasonable for him to suppose that the captain had ascertained the position of the ship at four o’clock, and he might naturally bo ini pressed with the idea that the hearing of breakers could only be fancy, and took the action he did to report to the captain, in terms of his orders. At the same time we are of opinion that leaving the bridge at any time by an officer in charge of the deck, when the ship is under way, is fraught with extreme danger; and that Captain Garrard’s orders to his officers to call him personally were imprudent. That the immediate cause of the wreck and loss of life was the negligent failure of able seaman Weston in keeping a look-out. That after the vessel struck and filled the captain committed an error of judgment in not placing the passengers in boats. The Court was of opinion that there were sufficient boats and lifebuoys in the Tararua, but, thought many lives would have been saved had the life-belts been available for the passengers and crew. In reference to the management of the boats, they thought the loss of the first officer’s might have been avoided by more skilful management : but, although censuring Mr Lindsay for his lack of skill, they were not prepared to say that the casualty resulting therefrom was caused by his wrongful act or default. They thought that assistance should have been rendered from the Bluff or Invercargill when intimation of the wreck was first received, for no passenger vessel on the rocks could be considered in other than a dangerous position. Astonishment was expressed that the officers of the Tararua were ignorant of the deviation of the compasses, but in view of the peculiar discipline on board, the Court was not disposed to say to what degree, if any, this ignorance was attributable to their own neglect. Certi-
ficates of both officers were then returned. In conclusion, the Court made the following recommendations : —First, That a light is urgently required' in the neighborhood of the Waipapa Point; second, that all passenger vessels trading in the New Zealand waters fee compelled to carry life belts for the maximum number of the passengers and crew ; third, that a regulation be made compelling exercise in the management of boats, at stated intervals. In answer to a question, the Court said that as the captain had lost his life, there was no one against whom an order of costs could bo made.
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THE WRECK OF THE TARARUA., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 361, 3 June 1881
THE WRECK OF THE TARARUA. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 361, 3 June 1881
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