News from 1917: Capt. Sealby returns to the sea

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The Hawaiian Gazette, Honolulu, 9 October 1917
Original article digitized by the University of Hawaii at Manoa
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,
Chronicling America « Library of Congress

Captain-Lawyer Will "Do His Bit" By Taking Command of Vessel Interned At

Some interest will be displayed at the news that Captain Inman Sealby, a
former well-known commander in the White Star Line, and who for some years
past has been practising law in San Francisco, is returning to his old

Captain Sealby, although having retired from a sea life for some years, has
evidently not lost the British sailor spirit, and has decided to "do his
bit." According to United States advice, Captain Sealby has accepted an
appointment by the United States Shipping Board as commander of the O. J.
Ahlers, the largest of the interned German steamers now being repaired on
the Pacific Coast.

Captain Sealby will be better remembered by Liverpool nautical circles in
connection with the White Star liner Republic, which was rammed by an
Italian steamer in a fog off the Nantucket coast, and his gallant act of
duty in remaining on board his ship until she sank tinder him, he being
fortunate, however, in being rescued. During the litigation following the
sinking of the Republic Captain Sealby concluded that if the Admiralty
lawyer who swarmed in and out of the case had been able to draw from
practical experience the knowledge they needed in handling the matters
involved, there would have been light in many very dark places, and much
valuable time would have been saved. He decided to try the experiment for
himself. He had the seafaring experience. He would acquire the necessary
legal lore. Having arrived at this derision, Captain Sealby went to the
United States and studied at a university in Michigan. He specialised in
law, and after passing as an Admiralty lawyer, having graduated with the
senior class, he was as familiar with Blackstone as he was with the
mariners' compass, and in due course he was admitted to the bar, but before
starting to practise Captain Sealby went to Rome to study Italian law. On
his return he settled down in San Francisco, and became a partner of the
firm of Hill and Sealby. As an Admiralty lawyer Captain Sealby has had a
most successful career.

The fact of his giving up law work, for the time, to again take command is a
sure proof of his anxiety and willingness to help to meet the international
situation. The United States Shipping Board is to be congratulated on having
secured a particularly fine type of sailor and gentleman to attend to the
future of the Ahlers, yet to be given a good Allied name.---Liverpool
Journal of Commerce.