The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Hero - Chieftain III Collision
Publication:
The Railway and Marine World (Toronto, ON), November 1911, p. 1081


Description
Full Text

Following is a summary of the judgment,

recently delivered, as a result of

the enquiry by L. A. Demers, Wreck

Commissioner, assisted by Capts. A.

Reid and F. Nash and W. Gauthier, as

assessors, into the cause of the collision

between the steamboats Hero and Chieftain

III., in the River St. Lawrence, near

St. Antoine. Que., Aug. 20, resulting in

the foundering of Chieftain III., and the

loss of four lives.

The court finds that reliance cannot

be placed on the calculations made by

the pilot, on Chieftain III., who by his

own admission, is ignorant of the most

elementary rules of navigation, and accepts

the corroborated testimony of the

Hero's witnesses. The court comes to

the conclusion that an improper lookout

was kept on Chieftain III., and that the

pilot, in porting, while his vessel was

green to green, committed a flagrant

transgression of the rules of the road.

As the pilot holds neither a certificate

nor a pilot's license, it is beyond the

court's jurisdiction to inflict a penalty

for his gross and unpardonable ignorance,

but he is held to be in default and

responsible for the casualty. The engagement

of Onesime Hamelin, as pilot,

was effected contrary to the bylaw

which permits the master or member

of a crew to pilot an exempted vessel,

but exacts that if a pilot he engaged, he

must possess a license. Therefore the

owners of Chieftain III., through whose

instrumentality this engagement was effected,

are held to be indirectly responsible,

while to the Chieftain's mate, who

was on watch with the pilot, no blame

can be attached, as being without certificate,

he is viewed in the light of a

deck hand and therefore irresponsible.

The captain of the Chieftain III., acting in accordance with the faulty system

endorsed by owners of this class of vessel,

for the master to keep watch and

watch, nevertheless lacked an adequate

conception of his responsibilities in leaving the fate of his vessel to such incompetent

hands. Furthermore, the

persons he carried in addition to his

crew, must be considered as passengers,

and as the certificate he held precluded

the carrying of passengers, he violated

the Shipping Act, and the court being of

opinion that he is indirectly responsible

for the disaster, suspends his certificate

as master for two years from Aug. 30.

and in the meantime grants him a certificate

as mate for a tug boat on minor

waters. Regarding the pilot of the Hero

and the second officer, they are exonerated

from all blame, but are advised

that when reversing they should indicate

such action by sounding the regulation

blasts. The captain of the Hero

is also exonerated, but the court cannot

condone his indifference subsequent

to the casualty. He should have anchored

his vessel and made vigorous

search for those known to be in jeopardy,

but he ignored the common claim

of humanity and is severely censured for

his action, which will be reported to the

Norwegian authorities. It is ordered

that the costs of the investigation be

paid by the owners of Chieftain III.,

the Calvin Co., Kingston. Ont. The

Hero is owned by Kjaer and Isdahi.

Bergen, Norway, and is under charter

to the Intercolonial Coal Mining Co., carrying

coal between Sydney N.S. and Montreal.


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Date of Original:
November 1911
Subject(s):
Language of Item:
English
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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Hero - Chieftain III Collision