News from 1907 Cretic Destroys a Derelict Lighter

Not open for further replies.

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The New York Times, 22 Sept

The New York Times, 22 September 1907

Abandoned Dutch Barge Destroyed by Liner Off Azores
Passengers on the White Star liner Cretic, which arrived yesterday from
the Mediterranean, had the rather unusual experience of seeing a
derelict destroyed at sea. It was sighted on Sept. 11 in latitude 36
degrees 23 minutes North, longitude 8 degrees 8 minutes West, 150 miles
off shore, between Gibraltar and the Azores.

When the Cretic ran down to it Capt. J. B. Kelk made it out to be a
large steel lighter, almost new, and in excellent condition. The living
quarters showed that it had been hastily abandoned. Signals were run up
in the hope that there was some one on board. There was no response, and
so the skipper decided to send a boat to investigate.

First Officer D. Wllliams, who went to the barge, reported it to be the
Volken in Bos of Holland, believed to be the property of Viker & Sons,
Dutch shipbuilders. She was new and strongly built, and as she seemed to
be worth about $5,000 and in condition to stand towing, the crew of the
Cretic appealed to Capt. Kelk to bring her into the nearest port.
However, he refused, and decided to destroy the barge, as she was a
dangerous obstacle on the ocean highway.

It took a boat's crew three hours to loosen one of the plates, and when
this was done, several barrels of oil were poured over the interior and
she was set on fire.

As the Cretic pulled away from the burning derelict the spectacle was
magnificent. A dense volume of smoke arose skyward, and there followed a
burst of flames, brilliantly lighting up the scene. The passengers
enjoyed to the full the spectacle of a ship burning at sea. Long after
the barge was lost to sight they could see the flames.

Toward nightfall there came a brilliant light, and then darkness settled
down. By this sign they knew the barge would no longer figure in
maritime reports as a "derelict, dangerous to navigation:"

On the Cretlc was Brig. Gen. Daingerfield Parker, retired, who with his
two daughters has been touring in Spain. Gen. Parker said that as he
took part in the war with Spain he visited that country incognito.
"But," he added, "there was no need for it. The Spaniards are courteous,
and seem to have forgotten the late unpleasantness."

Other passengers were Mrs. Wilson Bissell, wife of the former Cabinet
officer, with Miss Marguerite Bissell, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Dell, Mrs.
James E. Forbes, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Surles, and the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. G.
A. Van de Water, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Harlem.

Not open for further replies.

Similar threads

Similar threads