STORY OF TAPING FT APE. A story of British pluck and resource m difficult- and rHT!niisun'hv> \\ H i> revealed .1 feu - ’.rocks ago m .1 letter ifoni the British Consul-General at Rio de Janeiro to Sir Edward drey. Ihe letter Is ns follows ; .British Const!late Genera!, !’;<■ lie Janeiro. (.’ft-Ofr 3. IJI4. Sir. —The pacific Steam Navigation Company’s steamship Ortega arnved at Eio (io Janeiro upon October 1. ihe master, Douglas Reid Kimicir. iti reply to me inquiry as to whether he ha-d anytliing in particular to report witti respect to liis voyage from \ alpauuso, modestly gave lie the following facts : The Ortega sailed from Valparaiso with some 500 French reservists on board. When she had arrived close to the western entrance of the Strait- oi Magellan, a German cruiser of the Dresden class suddenly appeared .'lllll gave chase. Be it remarked that- the normal speed of the Ortega is only some 14 knots per hour, whereas the speed of the German cruiser was at least 21 knots per hour. I'uder those circumstances, the master of the Ortega took an heron.- resolve. He called for volunteer? to assist m stoking his vessel ; that appeal ni-’l will a hearty response : firemen, engineers, and volunteers stripped, to the waist. >ct to work with a will, fil’d the master assmed me that- tho;r actually .-.ucceeded in whacking the old ship (she was built in 19C6) up to a good 18 knots. —Bad German .Shooting.— The master headed his ship M raiylit for the entrance of a passage known as Nelson's Strait, and he made for Ihe strait at full speed, hotly pursued by the German cruiser, which kept firing at- him with two heavy how guns. Luckily, none of the shots took effect, and the Ortega- succeeded in entering Nelson's Strait, where the German cruiser did not dare to follow her. In order to realise the hardihood of this action upon the part of the master of th? Ortega, it- must be remembered that Nelson's Strait is entirely uncharted, and that the narrow, tortuous passage, in question constitutes a, veritable nightmare for navigators, bristling as it dries with reefs and pinnacle rocks, swept by fier'-e currents and tide-rips, and w it'h the cliffs on either side sheor-10, without any anchorage. I can speak from personal experience as to the terrifying nature of tho navigation of Nelson's Strait, having once passed through it many years ago in a small sealing schooner. However, the master of the Ortega managed to -get his vessel safely through, this dangerous passage, employing the device of sending boats ahead to sound every yard of the passage. Eventually, by a, miracle of luck and good seamanship-, he worked his way into Smyth's Gharucl without having sustained even a scratch to his plates, .and finally brought his vessel to this port. —Uncharted Strait. When it is remembered that, as already st.at ret, Nelson's Strait is absolutely uncharted, and that never before had » vessel of any size attempted that most perilous passage, it will, I think, be admitted that the captain’s action in taking an 8.000-ton steamer safely through that passage constitutes a most notable feat of pluck and skilful seamanship; and if i* reassuring to know that the old spirit of daring and of resource is still (dive in our mercantile marine. I have no doubt that Gaptain Douglas Reid Kinneir’s services will lie fully appreciated. not only by the directors of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company for having thus saved the Ortega from capture by the enemy, hut. also by the French Government for having saved from capture the 500 French reservists who happened t-o be on hoard hi.* vessel.
O’Prr.i.ivan Bkare.. His Britannic Majesty’s Consul
Permanent link to this item
BRITISH PLUCK, Evening Star, Issue 15693, 6 January 1915