The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 26 Apr 1905

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M.T. company wharf: steamer Advance cleared for Oswego.

The steamer Bothnia clears today for Oswego to load coal.

The steamer Fawcett or Wolfe Islander resumed her ferry trips today.

Crawford's wharf: schooner Tradewind, from Fairhaven with coal; steambarge Armenia and barge cleared for Oswego.

Richardsons' elevator: schooners Echo from bay ports; Granger from the island; steambarge Navajo cleared for Wellington.

About 100 vessels are held up twelve miles below Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, because of ice floes; the field is many miles broad.

The tug Charlie Ferris was badly damaged while trying to force her way through the ice at Oswego, and is now in dry dock receiving repairs.

It is figured that it will cost $50,000 to rebuild the steamer Scout. The work will likely be done in Kingston. The Scout was fitted with every modern convenience and was a perfect buoy boat.

The first arrival of the season at the Welland Canal, Port Colborne, was the steamer Isaac Lincoln and barge, which arrived from Sarnia to Oswego, followed by the Imperial and Jessie Spalding.

An enormous field of drift ice extends for more than two miles into the lake at Oswego, N.Y., and vessels entering the harbor are forced to enter through the gap in the outer pier. A number of vessels could not make Oswego and were forced to run into Fair Haven.

The steamers Bethlehem and Saturn collided in Detroit River and both were badly damaged. The former is in dry dock at Detroit, and the latter was beached on Russell's Island.

Brockville Recorder: The wrecking steamer Donnelly passed up yesterday with three gas buoys, for lighting purposes on the St. Lawrence, in tow. It used to be the remark "remember the Maine," now it is "remember the Scout." as those on board did not seem to care to have the buoys as close friends, they being attached to the Donnelly by long tow lines.

Applications were to have been made this month to the marine department for permission to use acetylene for searchlights on steamers. A Kingston boat was to have been fitted out with one, had permission been granted, and a number of others in these waters. Owing to the steamer Scout disaster, and to the uncertainty of the cause there is practically no likelihood of the department allowing acetylene to be used on steamboats or any other boats under government inspection. The scare has been too great, and popular opinion would not permit of any such permission being granted.


Capt. Fraser's Evidence On Buoy Explosion.

The government investigation into the cause of the steamer Scout gas buoy explosion is at an end. It concluded this morning after the board of enquiry had made some measurements at the wreck at the wrecked steamer. Yesterday afternoon the remaining witness, Capt. Fraser, commissioner of lights, was examined and gave some interesting testimony. He stated that he never considered that there was any danger in the manufacture and compression of acetylene, and claimed that in this he was sustained by best authorities. His opinion, as stated before, was that the accident was caused by a defective weld in the buoy.

When he took over charge of the buoy system, Capt. Fraser said he was led to believe that the practice was to load the buoys to a pressure of twelve atmospheres, at the Finch compressing works at Montreal. He had no knowledge of the actual pressure to which the buoys could be subjected to. He never took any steps to get at the strength of the buoys or what pressure they would really sustain, as he considered that the following of the existing practice of the department was amply justified. There was no guarantee from the manufacturers as to pressure. Capt. Fraser said that he was personally aware that the buoys were charged by the works in Montreal to twelve atmospheres and over, and for this reason he thought it was satisfactory to continue the pressure of the manufacturers who would naturally be supposed to know their strength. He reasserted his believe that the accident was caused by a defective weld and structural weakness of the buoy. No other reason could be advanced for the explosion he claimed.

Capt. Fraser said he received no instructions from Col. Anderson, when he was his assistant, to carry out any tests of the strength of these gas buoys. In all the years the gas buoys had been in use by the marine department, he did not think any test was ever called for. The concluding portion of Capt. Fraser's evidence was a description of the process of manufacturing acetylene and charging the buoys.

Capt. Fraser has decided to decrease the charging of the buoys from twelve to five atmospheres, as an experiment. This will mean that the buoys will have to be charged at least twice in the season, instead of once as at present. The cost will thus be much more.

None of the families of those who were killed have put in any claims to the government. There is not the slightest doubt but what the government will see that the families concerned do not suffer. So far as pecuniary help is concerned, the goverment's dealings will be liberal, it is understood.

The enquiry conducted by Mr. Adams and his associates has been thorough. They endeavored to get at all the facts and heard a great deal of expert testimony. Everything was done openly, and the press afforded every facility for getting what information it desired.

p.4 Picton Pointers - April 25th - When on Saturday the steamer Alexandria leaves for Charlotte on her first trip this year, Capt. E.B. Smith starts out on his fiftieth year of Bay of Quinte and River St. Lawrence navigation.

About Acetylene - letter to Toronto World from Augustine Davies, president of the International Acetylene association, about its use.

p.8 This morning, the board of enquiry decided to examine Capt. Augustus as to what he saw of the steamer Scout buoy explosion. Nothing material was secured. The captain repeated the evidence he gave at the coroner's inquest.

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26 Apr 1905
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 26 Apr 1905