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TRAGEDIES OF THE SEA.

STORMS AND "SHIPWRECKS.

The Nina, The Agra, and the F. S. Ciampa.

In these days of, mammoth steamships, with their barber shops, billiard rooms, hot baths, and church, organs, and all the rest of conveniences which . help to make the time aboard pass pleasantly, people are apt to refer contemptuously to the early days of Australasian settlement, when stumpy little wooden tubs look from six months to a year to do the passage from the Downs. But is is questionable whether navigators are much cleverer to-day, when we read of wheat shipsi . tak/tog "eleven montlhs to make the homeward passage. The old-time navigator had to find his own way without the aid of reliable charts, and with hardly any knowledge; of the variable winds that helped his craft along her lonely track ; now, although every current that flows and ' every wind that blows at set seasons of the year are Icnown, long voyages are still made.

One such was made by the large Dutch barque Nederland, 1955 tons register. belonging to Bussum, which arrived at Cardilf oa February 16 last, with grain, after an . eventful, passage. The Nederland left Melbourne on March 20 last year, and during her trip to the English Channel she fell m with a hurricane, which almost crippled her, besides washing overboard four seamen, including tie captain, a Dutchman, all of whom perished. Lifeboats were carried away, davits smashed, compasses ruined, and the deck-house swept overboard ; m fact, everything that was unlasbed aboard was lost. Under the control of the chief mate, the Nederland ran into CoqoimJio, this side of the ' Horn, on the Sossh American coast, where repairs were effected and a fresh start made. The ship was forced, however, to put back again to Callao, where a new captain, Wachter, assumed command. Another attempt Avas made to doable the Horn, and this time, the winter having passed, the voyage to Falmouth was completed without further mishap. From there the ship was towed around to the Bristol Channel by a tug.

But a worse fate was m store for the large steamer 'Lima, owned by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company of Liverpool, while on a voyage from the Clyde and Liverpool for Callao. The. ilWated liner .was of 3115 tons register, and carried a large crew, besides over 200 passengers. Steamers, of coarse, avoid the Horn fey ■ steaming through x Magellan Stiaits slightly to the northward, and it was here that the Lima came to grief. On February 12 last, the Lima, having completed the greater portion of her outward ; voyage, rant ashore m Huarablin Passage, and made her bed on the rocks for ever. Fortune, however, was to a certain extent kind to the Lima m that inhospitable region. Hardly had she struck when another steamer, the British vessel Hatumet, noticed the disaster, and bore up to assist. Darkness came on before the Hatamet could get near, but she. lay as near as she couid, while her boats pulled to the rescue. In a'l, the Hatumet saved 205 persons, who were lowered orer the Lima's stern m the darkness one by one hauled into the boats. The captain of tlie Hatumet, telling of the catastrophe afterwards at Valparaiso, said that duriagv the night the rope got entangled m tcerocks, or he would have saved all on' board. About 50 persons were drowned' during that dreadful night, including t^e/ chief mate, and the Hatumet was coin- ■ peiled to steam away, leaving SS of the crew and 44 passengers still on board j the Lima. The Chilian Government ser.tj two steamers with a rocket apparatus, and succeeded m saving the rranannler.

The terrible weather that raged aJorjc; the Avild North Atlantic early m T-'e - j ruary was responsible for the loss of iV United States naval tug Nina, which left Norfolk, Virginia, where most of the American fleet that visited Australia were built, for Boston, on Friday, February 11. She was well found, almost a new vessel, and strongly manned, having a crew of 32 men. The Nina, though, sever reached Boston, and now the Navy Department has a long list of widows and orphans tp care for. Just about the same time as tho Nina went under, not three thousand miles off. m. the Bristol Channel, the dwellers m the neighborhood of Woolacombe Sands, six miles from Ilfracombe, saw the beach one morning strewn with wreckage. There : were masts of a steamer, lifebelts, three, boats broken m half, and a quantity oV timber. On pieces of board, supposed to be portions of boats, were the words, "S.S. Odd , Sumderfand," and also "S.S. Agra." The last-named was a. Bristo2 steamer bound for Swansea ; and< there was no doubt, when the' mail left, that two steamers and their crews bad" foundered with all hands during the previous night. Another serious disaster was the total loss of the Italian barque F. S. Ciampa, •with 'all her crew, off the south c/>ast of Ireland on Friday, February 18. Friday is the day of the week about which mariners always were superstitious, but perhaps they have cause ; at least it was a bad day for the crew of this unfortunate vessel, the end of which wag saddening m the extreme. The F. S. Ciampa, which was a vessel of 1478 tons, m command of Captain Mastellonc, was a well-known Australian trader. Her last voyage, however, was from Chili to Queenstown, with a cargo of nitrate. At 2 p.m. on the Friday mentioned the Italian ship was signalled as passing Fastnet, after a voyage around the Horn, which took her the best part of four months. Her crew, doubtless, were glad to sight land once more, and contemplated dropping anchor m yueenstown harbor early the next morning. It doesn't follow, either, that because the crews of British ships are made up m the main of foreigners, that Italian ships carry ail foreigners. The truth -is that deep-water men, having spent their, last pay m a general frolic, care more about what port they are bound to than the nationality of fihe vessel they engage m, and when a crew is required m a batch, men of all tongues iind place. A sudden cliange of wind prevented the F. S. Ciampa heading off the land, and m the strong gale which prevailed, having to contend also with a terrific sea, she was driven to her doom. Fishermen on the Seven Sands, observing lights burning on the doomed vessel, promptly notified the coastguards at Courtmaesberry that a vessel was m distress ; and the coastguards within 20 minutes set out by land with the rocket apparatus for the head.iand nearest the scene of the wreck. The unfortunate ship had been driven ashore m Dunworley Hay, near the Oia Head of Kinsale, m the pitchy darkness. When the coastguards reached the scene, however, not a trace of the vessel could be seen. News of the disaster was received at Queenstown by Rear-Admiral Paget, and it was intended by Admiral Sir Colin Keppel, m command of the battleship London, tlien m (Queenstown harbor, to proceed to tire scene of the wrecK, to render assistance ; but, as later intelligence convoyed the' tidings that the F. vS. Ciampa had disappeared, and no good could be accomplished, the London did not proceed to sea. The discovery of a lifebuoy bearing the name I-lohenzollern led to the assumption that the vessel was German. Subsequently'the body of a seaman, whose clothing contained letters written m Italian, was washed up, wilti a consiaerablc i|uanr,:lv of wreckage. The register of the F. S. Ciampa was also discovered among tiio breakers, thus removing all doubt residing the nationality of the vessel. A couple of days later news came from Clonakilty that five bodies were washed ashore, and that fragments of wreckage lined the beach. All told, the crew of the F. 8. Ciampa numbered 2(i, and her end, though a common one for sailing vessels, was sharp and suciden.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTR19100514.2.44

Bibliographic details

TRAGEDIES OF THE SEA., NZ Truth, Issue 255, 14 May 1910

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1,329

TRAGEDIES OF THE SEA. NZ Truth, Issue 255, 14 May 1910

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