OPUA, steamer : The vessel was bound from Gisborne to Wellington when, at about 3 a.m. on October 2, 1926, she stranded at Tora, a small inlet 12 miles to the north-east of Palliser Bay. There was a dense fog at the time, and the vessel went ashore on the rocks just below the homestead of Mr. Eric Riddiford, all the members of the crew getting ashore without difficulty. The Opua’s hull was torn by the pounding on the rocks, and she quickly settled down. The engineroom was flooded on the afternoon of October 2, and the vessel soon went to pieces. The Opua stranded on an even keel, 100 yards from the beach. She bumped heavily in the breakers and quickly filled. The tugs Toia and Terawhiti were sent from Wellington, and approached within half a mile of the wreck. The captain abandoned the steamer on October 3.
The Court of Inquiry found that the casualty was contributed to by an error of judgement on the part of the master in setting too fine a course from Castlepoint to Cape Palliser, and in having no lookout with a knowledge of the coast during the second officer’s watch; further, that the second officer, who was unacquainted with the coast, committed an error of judgement in not calling the master after 2 a.m., when the weather towards the land became so hazy that it was impossible to estimate the ship’s distance from the shore. There was no evidence of neglect or default by any officer or member of the crew. The certificates of the master and second officer were returned, but the court ordered the master to pay Â£6 6s. and the second officer Â£3 3s. towards the cost of the inquiry.
The Opua, No. 112,563, was a steel, twin-screw steamer of 575 tons gross and 288 tons net register, built at Linthouse, Glasgow, in 1902 by A. and S. Inglis, and her dimensions were : length 184.2 ft., beam 28.15 ft., depth 9.6 ft. She was under the command of Captain E. H. Fowler.