Report of Captain John Chase, of the Schooner Screw Collier Steamer Haswell, of and from London, 560 tons, for Sunderland, in ballast, which was in contact with the Bruiser (s s), as before reported: -- Left London Aug. 18, weather fine, wind a gentle breeze from S.W. At 2 30 next morning, weather fine, wind S.W., gentle, was steaming along under canvas, portsail only being set, off Aldeburgh, about 5½ miles from the Suffolk coast. The two side lights and the masthead light were burning brightly at the time. I left the deck a few minutes to 12 o'clock to go below to rest. Vessel was then about 1½ mile above the Sunk Light-vessel. The Chief Mate was in charge until 12 o'clock, afterwards the Second Mate was in charge. I gave orders before going below that if there was any danger or difficulty I was to be called, and under any circumstances to call me when the vessel was off Lowestoft. The first thing I heard was the shock of the collision while in my berth. I immediately ran on deck, when I found another vessel, which proved to be the Bruiser, of London, athwart our bows. The first thing that I looked to then was that the bows of the Haswell should be kept fast in the Bruiser, so that I might save all the lives possible. To effect this, the engines were kept slowly ahead; every exertion was made to save life, by throwing out ropes, putting down a ladder, putting all the boats out, &c. By this means 75 passengers, the Master, and 20, of the Bruiser's Crew, were saved. I, after remaining in my position for about 10 minutes, saw it was necessary for the safety of the vessel, and lives we had saved, to back out of the Bruiser, which vessel, as soon as this had been done, went down stern foremost. I now overhauled my own vessel to ascertain what damage she had sustained. I found a large hole in the port bow, and the forepeak full of water, the watertight bulkhead being close to the hole and perfectly tight. After shoring the bulkhead, I considered the vessel quite safe. I remained on the spot for about three hours, to see if any one was floating about. After saving almost all the passengers' luggage, I then took the boats in, and returned to London with all speed, arriving at Victoria Dock at 5 P.M. same day. Three lives were saved by the schooner Perseverance, which happened to be on the spot at the time. No lives were lost of persons on board my ship. From the statement of my Second Mate, who holds a Master's certificate, granted him about 23 years ago, and who had charge of the vessel at the time of collision, I consider the Officers on board the Bruiser were entirely to blame, as that vessel had been coming up rather on the port bow since her lights were first seen, and then, when the vessel were near each other, the Bruiser starboarded her helm, which led to the collision.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius
Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives.
Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.