WELLINGTON, ship : Totally wrecked during a terrific gale on the night of March 7, 1874, between Lyall Bay and Sinclair Head, with the loss of two lives. The ship sailed from Wellington on March 6, and everything was all right until noon on the following day, when the wind increased to a gale and during the afternoon attained hurricane force. A course was steered calculated to have taken the ship to Cape Terawhiti, but at 11 p.m. the second mate reported that he could see the loom of the land. Immediately afterwards the lookout reported “Rocks ahead”, and the Wellington struck, about 50 yards from the Cyrus. Both vessels were soon smashed into innumerable pieces. The master and eight seamen pulled into Wellington Harbour in one of the ship’s boats, after escaping from the wreck in a most miraculous manner. The chief officer was saved by clinging to a lifebuoy, and the second mate managed to swim ashore. The cook was drowned, and a seaman, having divested himself of his clothing, succeeded in swimming ashore, only to succumb from exhaustion on landing.
The Court of Inquiry found that the master was deficient in due care in navigation, and suspended his certificate for six months, but as he did his duty to the best of his ability, was almost continuously at his post, and his fault, was more of an error of judgement than of culpable negligence, the court recommended that a chief mate’s certificate be granted him during the period of his suspension. The chief officer was censured by the court for not keeping a proper lookout.
The Wellington, No. 36,583, which was in ballast, was a full-rigged ship of 696 tons register, built at Yarmouth, Maine, U.S.A., in 1854, her foreign name being Helios. Her dimensions were length 153.2 ft., beam 30.3 ft., depth 22.6 ft., and she was commanded by Captain H. E. Hill.