Danger of Shingle Ballast.

The following is to be added to the many instances of injury arising from the use of shingle ballast: - The Mysore, an Indian Ship of large dimensions and uncommon strength, lately, on her passage from Bengal to Bombay, sprung so serious a leak, that unremitting exertions at the pumps were for several weeks necessary to keep her afloat. On arriving at Bombay she was docked, when water was observed running through a part of the copper which covered the bottom sheathing abreast of the chess-tree, and the nails of the copper partly drawn. On removing some of the sheets, a hole was visible in the sheathing plank, which being taken off, the plank of the garboard streak on each side the keel was found to be quite cut through, and an aperture in them sufficiently large to admit a man's arm from the outside. On the timbers being cleared inside, this was discovered to have been occasioned by some round stones, nearly the size of a twelve-pound shot, having fallen betwixt the floor-timbers in this place, and by the constant motion of the Ship, perhaps from the time she was launched, had grooved their way through the garboard planks and sheathing, over the keel, which was likewise indented upwards of three inches, and through the two next bottom planks. As the stones were found in the timbers, and exactly fit the groove, and as several of the other floor-timbers had stones betwixt them, which had occasioned a similar effect, although not in an equal degree, no doubt can remain of their being the cause of the circumstance which had so nearly proved fatal to the Mysore; for, had the sheets of copper, of which the nails were partly drawn, fallen off, no exertion of the Officers and Crew could have saved the Ship.

Naval Chronicle, Vol. iV (1801), p 270.

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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.