PELHAM, steamer : Went ashore off Lookout Point, Bluff, on August 9, 1886, and became a total wreck. The vessel was bound from Greymouth to Bluff, and approached the port in fine weather. The master watched for signals from the semaphore, but none was made. Immediately afterwards the steamer struck and continued to pound heavily. When the pilot boat came alongside, the Pelham’s engines were still going full speed ahead, but she did not move. At the inquiry into the loss of the Pelham the court was of the opinion that the master, having been to Bluff only once before, and being without an exemption certificate, committed an error of judgement in attempting to enter the harbour before daylight. If he had reversed the engines when the soundings showed four and a half fathoms he would have saved the ship. The court suspended the master’s certificate for three months. It was stated at the inquiry that the pilot, before coming alongside, did not show any signal.
The Pelham, No. 52,657, was an iron, screw steamer of 423 tons gross and 228 tons net register, with two engines of 68 h.p., and her dimensions were : length 157.8 ft., beam 22.8 ft., depth 12.7 ft. She was built at West Hartlepool, Durham, in 1865, by R. Irvine and Co.; as a brig, was later altered to a three-masted barque, and in 1885 was converted to a steamer by her owners, Messrs. M. Kennedy and M. O’Connor, of Greymouth. The steamer was under the command of Captain Christen Erikson Greager.