The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 1890 UNSEA WORTHY VESSELS.
One would have thought that, after the hard battle fought and won bySamuel Plimsoll in Great Britain against the sending to sea of unseaworthy ships, there was no port in her Britannic Majesty's dominions whence could sail with a crew of human beings of any race or nationality,—much less her Majesty's subjects,—such a death trap as the Emilie is described to have oeen by three of the survivors. " A floating coffin, she was," they say ; and the sailor Green told an interviewer that " she was one of the worst old traps that ever filled with salt-water, and was unfit to be afloat. Any seaworthy boat would have stood the weather all right. I have been in much worse (weather). All the canvas was taken off her before she Avent on her beam ends. Sails, ropes, and rigging were rotten, and in fact there was nothing but red paint holding her together." Here is a nice description of a vessel for one of her crew to give : yet that vessel sailed in that condition .from a port in a British colony. It has not been stated that before shipping with her at the Bluff these sailors knew of the rotten condition of her gear, or the bad state of her hull, but neither has it been stated that any survey of the vessel was made at all, and clearly, if there is any truth in what the sailor says, the omission of that survey was a culpable thing on the part of whoever was responsible for seeing it made. Decayed planks and timbers, and rotten standing and running gear would have made themselves apparent to any old skipper entrusted with the duty of making a survey, and the vessel so pronounced unseaworthy would have been impounded. It is only after the mischief is done that we hear of things like this, and locking the door of the stable does not prevent the stealing of the steed already stolen. But it may save any still left in the stalls. We have not at hand precise information as to how the fact of the Emilie being owned in San Francisco may affect her in regard to regulations tinder our Merchant Shipping laws \ but surely if British merchandise is carried in an American bottom from one British port to another, British authority should be able to insist that that bottom is sound enough to encounter the oi'dinary perils of the sea, the more especially when her complement of men has to be made up with British .seamen. In any case, in the interests of common humanity, no vessel unfit to dare the dangers of the wave, as far as soundness of gear and timbers go, and safety of loading, ought even to be allowed to Jeave a colonial port, whether she be Home or Foreign^owned, We wquld promptly hang a skipper who murdered one of his crew in cold blood, and with equal promptness would he be prevented from committing the crime were his Intention known. Why should he and his ownei'S be permitted to risk his men's lives, even if he is reokless of his own in a tub like 1 that described by the sailor Green 1