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K00MBANA INQUIRY. R,. MOSS, K.C., ADDRESSES THE COURT. DECISION RESERVED. At Fremantle yesterday afternoon the - Court of Marine Inquiry into the "total loes at sea of the as. .Koombana on or about Marth 20, 1912,, between Port Hed land and Broome," was resumed. Mr. E. P, Dowley, R.M., was President of the Court, and assisting him were Captains F. L. Parkes and J. W. W. Yates, assessors. The Crown Prosecutor (Mr. Frank Parker) appeared on behalf of the Chief Harbour master to conduct the inquiry, and Mr. M. L. Moss, .C, antched the proceedings on behalf of the Adelaide Steamship Com pany, the owners of the vessel. Mr. Parker intimated that he did not intend to call further evidence. Telegrams had been sent to residents at PortiHedland and two witnesses were prepared to come along, bhut after consultation with Captain irvine he had decided to ask for no further adjournment to allow of their being pre set. The evidence, that the witnesses re ferred to would give would be nothing more than substantiation of that tendered by Captain Irvine himself. He'therefore had no further evidence to call and did not ropose to address the Court. SMrt L. L.,Moss K.C., in the course of his address said that there had been a pre inminary inquiry held before Captain Ir vine, and he thought that as a result of "that inquiry the Captain would have been jstified in preventing any further inquiry, bat he was to be'commended on his action in bringing about a public investigation. There had beten a tremendous loss of life and a tremendous.loss of. valuable property, iad it was in the interests of the whole community that the greatest possible light shold 'be shed on the inquiry. The. Ade laide S.amship Company he might mention was just as anxious as anyone that the strmngest searchlight should be thrown on loun of the Koombana, in view of the scan daldus remarks that had been made don cerning the stability of the vessel by ir responsible persons: The two ships, Bul lara and Koombana, were together at Port .iedland bn March 19, and the master of he.,former, Captain Upjohn, was on board :the 'oombana. It had been suggested, but there was not the slightest ground for it, t:hat theme had been a discussion between : Captain Upjohn and Captain Allen it was proved by Captain Up johna eaidence-about the state of :-te' weather: It was quite usual with a small place like Port Hedland for the. masters of vessels in that port to visit each other." They had been told that the two captains-were together from 8 to 11 p.m.; but there was no proof that they were in each otlier's company the whole of that time.. On the next morning, the 20th, Cap tain Upjohn again saw Captaii Allen and they had it in evidence that there was a conversation in respect to the weather; and Sthat:Captain Upjohn said: "It's overcast and a bit dirty, but there is nothing in it." There was, in fact, he gathered from the evidence, nothing unusual to give the - lightest occasion for alarm: .On that point they had the. emphatic statement of Captain Up Those ybodies who said things to the conirary had been gives an ample opportunty to appear be foi~ tbe Court and give evidence, but not :on.e of their number had come forward. He did not want to mention names; but would say that there was at Port Hedland one particular busybody who sought to stir up strife on every conceivable occasion. That gilitleman he would, however, say was con erned with the local Press, and ,there was sufficient evidence to show thit ther was nothing to justify what had been published in the paper at Port Hedland regarding ant alleged conference between the two cap tains.- It was, he would admit, quite clear that there was some telegram-a kind of joint telegram-signed' by Captains Upjohn and Allen, but that telegram had reference only to the painting of certain beacons. Ap parently the busybodies had.come to the con clusion'after the loss of the Koombana that, -it was on the question of weather. But what was it that happened? The -Koombana left Port Hedland at half past 10 in the morning on 'the top of the equinoctial spring tides. She had a loading of 1,671 tons, well distributed-a fact well proved. The evidence showed she 'was in good'trim, and that the propeller was submerged.' The evidence again clearly demonstrated that there was no oal on the cattle deck. Evidence in support of this had been given by the itneases Gardiner, Up john. Crossley, and Craig, and it was also further shown that the Koombana was drawing 19ft. aft when she left Hedland. They had the evidence of Mr. Craig that the propeller of the Koombana was submerged sit or eight inches, and that of Mr. Cros Iey that the draft was a little- over 18ft., apd that the propeller was completely im messed. He referred to the experiments made by the Ralston indicator, and those of Captain.Rankin, and adtdd that the indi cator dearly showed thatwith a weight of 1,671 tons the vessel must have.been draw ing?l9ft. aft. Chief Officer Crossley had said that from the reading of the barometer there was No Storm Anticipated until it was right down on top of them. To wards midnight the cyclonic conditions de veloped, the Bullarra 'then being on the way to Balla Balla. Mr. Cross Iey had expressed the opinion that it, was a miracle that the Bullarra had come through it all. But, then, the Bullarra did not experience the same force of the ey clone that the Koombana must have, and it was on record that neither Captain Up dohn nor Mr. Croosley had experienced in the course of their lives such a gale. He thought, in the public interesta, somethieg s hiold be said regardin~-the system of fore cesting-it was one that could be very much improved on. It could be done in a simple and quit inerpenstre way. What was the use of sending out messages of warning to hipmanstea who had sailed the prevous day? .He Monld agree however, that it was quite probable that it would have been im possible to send oua twarning n'this particu lar occasion, becaunse the storm bfoke so soon-it dev~Ioped suddenly, an altogether
unexpected eneru . lie ventured to put it th there could be no doubts with the mind of the Court but that the iKoombana was a stramgly built ship-the evidence was .that she was super-strong. There was, for in stance, the evidence of .Mr. Mlc)onald, who was in Glasgow supervising the construction snd fitting of the Koombana's engines, ma chinery, etc., who came out with her as Shief engineer, and who ran in her for about 18 months to two years as chief engineer. "The trial trip of the Koombana, said Mr. McDonald, was at sea.' She indicated 3,080 horse-power, with a speed of .14 knots throughout. Fully laden, her average speed, however, was .3 knots." Was she a speci ally built ship so far as stability was con cerned? he was asked, and he replied, "She was a magnificent vessel, strongly built. Her tailing shaft was 25 per cent. above require ments. She .had watertight doors in every compartment, and was capable of carrying 900 tons of. water ballast. Her engines were triple expanion, but not duplicate, and had ei the latest auxliary gear. It had been stated that the vessel was top-heavy, but that is not true. She is the best sea boat I have ever sailed in, and almost my last trip in her was one of the worst from a weather point of .view that I have erlferienc. ed. Her machinery was the best. running I ever handled. I do not think that she has broken her tailing shafting, which as I have said, is made 25 per cent. above the require. ments. My opinion is that she has met with some minor disablement, such as a misha- to the rudder, in which case she would be mumanageable, and repairs would have to be effected at sea.. They have all the ncesnary appliances. and facilities on board- for doing such work. I have every hope that she will turn up partially repaired. You cannot do much in a week at sea in the way'of repairs. Those who are anxious shou?d take heart, because the Koombana.is a splendid sea vessel, and well equipped in wery way." Contining, Mr. Moss remark ed, the goombana had been subjected to seven severe tests, and it had been- demon stafted that had she heeled over to an angle. of 90deg., she must have righted herself-the tests proved that even in extraordinary wen. ther she was a vessel as stable as an that had been into water. They had bhd evi. daene to e effect that it was Impossible to Capsize the vesel-there was the testimony of the winesses Upjolon'Crossley, Clarke, Baklrn Craig, and Butcher. We wanted to saecis ally draw attention to the evidence grven M Clarke, who was formerly with the and. who travelled from Glasgow in her. He was free from all .bias. Mr. Clarke had said that he was on board thb steamer on the occasion of the trip to Gesrldton with the teeth of a strong N.W. gale. Captain Dingll was on hoard; and emressed the opinion that he was thoroughly satisfied re garding her sea-going qualities. The evi -dence of the Rev. Mr. Patrick bshowed.con closively that no-blow had been anticipated, and Mr. Patrick had been called by. the Crown Prosecutor. It had never been sug gested that the Koombana was ll-manned, but they had evidence that Captain Allen and his chief officer each held extra master's certifeates, and, in fact, that all were fitted to fulfil any duty they may have been called on to perform. Mr. Moxon had told them that the master of the ship was not pressed for time-in fact, that he was well in ad vance of contract time. What Caused the Diaster? In hi opinion, at the conclusion of the in qai? it was going to be as big a mystery -s at the beginning, and he was 'afraid it was going to remain as big a-mystery as, *srima"-dp t~casjs _
Mained. There were many hypothesis fh might be put forward, such as did she strike or grate Bedout or some hidden danger. In this connection he would draw attention to the fact that the chart was not reliable, because that part of the coast had been imperfectly surveyed. Then they had the fact that the Koombana was able to Marconigram another vessel on March 19, and that al though the latter came nearer next day there was no message. He contended that ths wreckage found negatived the idea that the Koombana' had1 been the victim of a sudden overwhelming disaster, but it did suggest that the vessel had been subjected to a fearful battering about. It was also stated in &vidence that the Bedout light was'out from March 13, and the question that suggested itself was, in view of the condition and locality, should an unattended light be so far from supervision? He cast no reflection on the Harbour and Lights Department, bhut were the authorities satis fled that An Unattended Light: at Bedout eas safe? Should it not be at tended to more frequently than the firm who supplied it said was necesary? It was possible that the vessel might have lost her rudder or propeller, but he was not inclined to that belief, seeing that the evidence dis closed they were 20 per cent. above the requirements. Had a breakdown happened in the engine-room then there would have been very little chance of the vessel weather ing it through 'in such dreadful conditions as the Koombana must have experienced It was the duty of the board, from a public point of view, to see whither all that was possible had been done by those directly concerned to trace any wreckage and suc cour any. people who might be out on the sea. He did not think such a charge could be levelled against the Adelaide Steamship Company. They had put forward almost snperhuman efforts, and the Government were deserving of the greatest commenda tion for the part they had played in the search for the miming vessel, and: in which no; only the Bullarra, but the Una, Gorgon, Moqnta, Minderoo, and four luggers were engaged. Captain Irvine, too, deseived great' praise. He did not know what the finding would be, but his suggestion was that the Koombana, a steamer of -the highest class and of proved stability, ten couintered a hurricape of phenomenal sio lence, of which no warning was given, in a dangerous position and was totally lost therein.' The Admiralty gid no reliante was to"be placed on the chart, and, in the circumstances it was impossible to say what caused the loss of the vessel. Further proceedings were adjourned ntl' Monday neat, when possibly the finding of the Court will be made public.