News from 1888: White Star barque Explorer sunk in collision


Mark Baber

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The Times, 9 November 1888

The Times, 9 November 1888

DISASTERS AT SEA
---
Shortly after 3 o'clock yesterday morning the barque Explorer, owned by
Messrs. Ismay, Imrie and Co. with a general cargo for Valparaiso, when lying
at anchor off the Nore lightship, was struck on the starboard abaft midships
by the steamship Erith, bound for Sunderland. No sooner was the barque
struck than she began to fill, and she sank in less than ten minutes. The
crew, 18 all told, saved themselves by clambering into the rigging and
backstays and jumping on board the steamer. They were unable to save any of
their property. The steamer landed the crew at Rochester, whence they left
by train for Gravesend. The barque was in charge of a pilot at the time of
the collision.

[Discussion of two other disasters, not relevant for present purposes, has
been omitted from this transcription.]

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Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Dec 29, 2000
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The Times, 17 December 1888

The Times, 17 December 1888

PROBATE, DIVORCE, AND ADMIRALTY DIVISION
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(Before MR. JUSTICE BUTT and Trinity Brethren)
---
THE ERITH

---
This was an action brought by the owners of the barque Explorer against the
owners of the steamship Erith, to recover damages for the loss of their
vessel by a collision which occurred about 3 30 a.m. on the 8th of November
last. The plaintiffs' case was that the Explorer, bound from London for
Valparaiso with a general cargo, had, on the evening of the 7th, come to an
anchor about a mile and a half below the Nore lightship and was so lying
with two anchor lights exhibited---one in the starboard forerigging and the
other on the spanker boom---when the steamship Erith ran into her starboard
side and sank her. The defendants' case was that the Erith, which was on a
voyage from Rochester to Sunderland in water ballast, was proceeding on an
east by north course making about four knots, when the Explorer, without any
lights visible, was seen right ahead at a distance of about 30 yards. The
helm of the Erith was at once put hard-a-port and her engines were stopped,
but before an order could be given to reverse the engines the collision
occurred. Some of the defendants' witnesses admitted that they saw the
lights of the Explorer after the collision, but said that they were burning
very dimly.

Sir Walter Phillimore and Mr. W. Baden-Powell appeared for the plaintiffs;
Mr. Finlay, Q.C., and Mr. Aspinall for the defendants.

MR. JUSTICE BUTT, after carefully considering the evidence, found that the
anchor light of the Explorer was duly exhibited, and pronounced the Erith
alone to blame.

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