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Colonial Cases

The Hangchow, 1887


The Hangchow

Naval Court, Amoy
28 February 1887
Source: North China Herald, 9 March 1887

  Finding and Order of a Naval Court held at H.B.M.'s Consulate, Amoy, on the 28th February 1887, to enquire into the circumstances attending the stranding of the s.s. Hangchow on Tsingseu Island, on the 26th January last.
  The Hangchow is a steam vessel of 999 tons register tonnage, Official Number 91,878 of the port of London.  It appears from the evidence given before this Court that she sailed from Shanghai on the 23rd January bound for Amoy and Swatow with a general cargo and a crew of 36 hands all told, 9 passenger and other persons belonging to the Compradore's staff.
  That on the night of the 25th January there was a strong wind blowing with thick and rainy weather.  That the Captain steered a good and careful course all that night, at the rate of 11 to 12 knots an hour over the land.  That on the morning of the 26th Jan., Tsingseu Light as sighted and steered for when it bore W by N ½ N (Magnetic).  That in endeavouring to avoid the dangers to the Northward the order was given by the Master to steer too close to the dangers on the Southern side of the channel, and as the weather rendered it difficult to judge the exact distance of the light, the Hangchow ran on the rocks below the light-house on Tsingseu Island, where she sustained considerable damage, and was in danger of becoming a total loss.
  The Court having regard to the above circumstances finds as follows:-
  That the Master was guilty of an error in approaching a narrow channel like the entrance at Amoy outer harbor at full speed in such weather, and censures him accordingly; but sees no reason to deal with his certificate or those of any of the Officers or Engineers.
  Secondly - That the Court is satisfied that everything was done after the stranding of the ship for the safety of life and of the ship itself, and that proper discipline was observed on board the ship.
  The court wish to record their sense of the humane conduct of Mr. Francisco Botelho, Lightkeeper at Tsingseu and assistants in providing all the shipwrecked persons with food and shelter.
  The costs of this court amounting to $47.72 are to be paid by the owners at whose request this Naval Court has been held.
(Signed) Clement F. Allen, Consul, President.
(Signed) Frank Leburn, British Merchant, Amoy.
(Signed) Geo. Payne, Master s.s. Pechili.
(Signed) William Baikie, Master, Archos.
Dated at H.M. Consulate, Amy, this 28th day of Feb., 1887. - Amoy Gazette.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School