Star of Erin

Star of Erin

STAR OF ERIN, barque : The vessel sailed from Bluff on February 6, 1892, bound for London with a cargo of wool and grain, and at about midnight the same day went ashore near Otara Point, one mile north of Waipapa Point lighthouse. The barque became a total wreck, only the mizzenmast and part of the hull being visible the next day. The master stated that a moderate breeze from the south-east prevailed when the vessel was towed out of Bluff at 3 p.m. Before midnight the wind changed to the south-west, and blew very hard, accompanied by blinding rain. At 11.30 p.m., after beating about the coast, the Star of Erin struck heavily on Waipapa Reef and remained fast.

The boats were immediately provisioned and made ready for lowering, but as the vessel held together the crew remained on board until daylight. The barque lay on the reef, about two miles off the land, and two miles nearer to Fortrose than the wreck of the Tararua. At 4.30 a.m. the first boat landed with the mate, who sent word to Invercargill, and then returned to the wreck. Seas began to break over the ship, and the second mate, with ten of the crew, then left in one of the boats, landing safely at Fortrose. A second boat was lowered and manned, and remained under the lee of the ship until 7.30 a.m., by which time tremendous seas were breaking over the vessel as high as the yard-arm. The lighthouse keeper at Waipapa Point piloted them by signals inside the reef and they landed safely. The Court of Inquiry found that the casualty was caused by overconfidence of the master in estimating the distance from Waipapa Point lighthouse, instead of paying more strict attention to chart, courses and distance made.

The Star of Erin, No. 45,122, was an iron barque of 949 tons register, built at Belfast in 1862 by Messrs. Harland and Wolff, and was under the command of Captain Edward Lovett Hopkins.

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