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FATE OF SOUTHERN CROSS.

FINDING OF THE MARINE COURT.

The Court of Marine Inquiry in Vic- toria, consisting of Mr. P. Cohen, P.M. (president), and Captains R. Wills and G. B. Ramsay (skilled members), has issued a report upon Its investigation into the loss of the barquçntinc South- ern Cross. The president said that cer- tain questions had been submitted to it by the Marine Board, and the replies were embodied in the report.

The. report stated that when the Southern Cross left the Port of Mel- bourne on September 11 she was in a good and seaworthy condition; she was properly manned and properly laden, properly equipped with life-saving ap- pliances and means of signalling. The following persons were on board the vessel when she left port:-F. K. Hodg man, master; - Watt, mate; and G. F. Makepeace, boatswain. As the Southern Cross waB trading under home trade articles, which allowed fof the crew be- ing altered at any lime without refer- ence to a shipping office, and as no direct evidence was available, the Court could, not determine who constituted the other members of the crew on board at the time of her departure from Mel- bourne. The Court had no doubt that the barquentinc was lost. The report ends:- \ '

"In the-oprnion of.the Court the South- ern Cross when Well to the southward of Kinç Island was discovered to be on fire below, and when endeavouring to run the ship back for safety she struck the Reid rocks, or somewhere in that vicinity, on the night of September 14, 1920. In consequence of the unfavour- able weather conditions existing at the time, the nature of the locality, and n probable explosion below, she broke up so rapidly that there was no possibility* of any of the crew surviving."

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