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VESTRIS INQUIRY

DAMAGING EVIDENCE SHIP AND BOATS LEAKI DISOBEDIENCE OF CREW United Press Association—By Electric Tel«« graph—Copyright. Australian Press Association, (Received 22nd November, 11 a.m.) NEW YORK, 21st November. When the Vestris inquiry, conducted by Mr. Tuttle, resumed, a. definite courso of action was decided upon at tko suggestion of th© British naval expert, Captain Joseph M'Conkey, namely:— (1) That a former captain of the Vestris bo called. (2) That Commissioner O'Neill and two naval experts inspect the steamship Vauban, which was a sister ship of the Vestris. (3) That the three main points to be answered were:— (a) To determine the actual cause of the sinking.' (b) To determine the actual cause of the loss of life.' (c) To determine tho cause of tho ■ delay in sending out tho S.O.S. The hearing then proceeded along these lines. The first officer, Mr. Johnston, recalled, said that members of the crew refused some of his orders just prior to the disaster, and that some were not at their posts of duty when the lifeboat order was given, but lie added: "1 was still able to control my men, however." ' . .: WATEB RUNNINO INTO SHIP. . Mr. Johnston stated that ho gave one officer the command to enter a lifeboat, but the officer walked away, ignoring the command. Ho also stated that he heard water running into the coal bunkers, but was unable to get to it because of tho coal. "I reported it to tho Captain and he came down on Sunday morning and inspected it." They were unable, however, to find where the water was coming from. "I got away the lifeboats, 1, 3, 5, and 7," said the witness. "They were not properly filled, beeauso there was not sufficient time." PASSENGER'S INTERVIEW. In the meantime at the resumed investigation before the inspection officials of'tho ship, Frederick Sorenson, a passenger, denied that he ever referred to Captain Carey as negligent or said "they are murderers," as quoted in the newspapers. He declared that lie was misquoted. Sorenson concluded by stating that the Vestris'a lifeboats and tho ship were apparently in good condition. '• The reporters who interviewed Sorenson upon his arrival in New York, took tho stand and denied that the latter had been misquoted. William Rcnhain, ship surveyor, E, A. Swanjand', and Fred Dennis, boiler inspectors, all testified that the ship was in good condition. Dennis denied that there was any drinking by tho inspectors before or after leaving the ship. CEACKED POET WINDOW. After this a passenger, J. B. Duvalle, .testified that the port window of his first cabin was cracked and the packing missing, allowing water to enter every time the waves slapped the Vestris. Duvalle said that he entered tho j last lifeboat which was safely launchI cd. "There was no officer or member of the crew in our boat," he added, "which carried twenty-two persons. Four of us had to bail water all the time. I did not believe the boat had been greatly damaged by pounding against the side of the Vestris." TIN TACKED OVER HOLE. A first-class passenger, Edward Margin, said: "I was standing near Boat 8 and saw a large hole near the water line. A sailor tacked a piece of tin over it, but I told the officer, Mr. Johnston, that I was not going in that boat. 1 got into number 10 boat, which leaked all the time. The lantern was defective, and nine out of twelve flare 3 were defective. Finally, ■we had to transfer twenty out of fifty-one people in tho boat, because we feared it might founder. I wish to take this.opportunity to state that at no time did I see evidence of cowardice on the part of the ship's officers." Officers of the .American Shipper, which went to the rescue, namely, the chief officer, Mr. Eric Nelson, and the* third officer, Mr. Conrad Oswald, both said that they believed the lifeboats were in good condition, after which Captain Cummiiigs, of the American. Shipper, testified that none of the five lifeboats his ship rescued were overcrowded. "All could have taken on other passengers," he said. Edward Walcott, agent for the thirdclass passengers, said that boat 9, ia. which he was rescued, leaked badly. - TESTIMONY OP EXPERTS. Before the Commerce Departments hearing, Edward Ohman, second officer of the American Shipper, stated that the lifeboats of the Vestris were in good shape. '' Only lifeboat. Number 5 contained any water, and there was only a few inches in it," he said. James Short, surveyor of hulls for Lloyd's, said that ho examined the Vestris's cargo hold and ballast tanks on 31st October, and found tho vessel in very good condition. Mr. Short said that the Vestris's second officer told him that half of the door, which figured so prominently in the investigation, was often left open to provide .fresh air for the stewards and othe* seamen. Asked if he had got the impression that the door was occasionally left open without an officer's permission, ho reI plied, "I did." Mr. Short testified that the lifeboats were in splendid shape when he made the last inspection. He stated that he believed that the boats were built with tho Vestris, which, would make them 16 years old.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19281122.2.67

Bibliographic details

VESTRIS INQUIRY, Evening Post, Volume CVI, Issue 116, 22 November 1928

Word Count
872

VESTRIS INQUIRY Evening Post, Volume CVI, Issue 116, 22 November 1928

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