Star of the Mersey 1886

Star of the Mersey 1886

STAR OF THE MERSEY, brig : On May 19, 1886, the brig sailed from Kaipara, bound for Dunedin, with a cargo of 130,000 feet of baulk and hitch timber. At 3.30 p.m. on the following day the vessel sprank a leak, due to one of the butts starting. In spite of all the efforts of the crew, who pumped continuously, it was found that there were two feet of water in the hold, and this increased to six feet. The master directed the ship’s course towards the land, and at 9 a.m. on May 21 brought up off the end of the New Plymouth breakwater, the water then being over the ‘tween deck beams. The anchors were dropped and signals of distress hoisted, in response to which the harbour-master came out in the tugboat to the distressed vessel. The brig was then filled with water to the hatches, and the tug was not powerful enough to tow her into New Plymouth Harbour. The thoroughly exhausted crew than abandoned the vessel, which parted her cables as soon as they left, drifted ashore opposite the town, and became a total wreck. The brig was insured for £400, and the cargo, a large portion of which was recovered and sold, was insured for £850.

The Star of the Mersey, No. 47,587, was a wooden brig of 225 tons register, built at Sunderland, Durham, England, in 1863, by H. and J. Gibbon, and her dimensions were : length 98.6 ft., beam 25.8 ft., depth 15.5 ft. She was owned by Mr. C. L. Hodge, of Dunedin, and was under the command of Captain John Christian. About 1877 the brig was caught in a heavy gale in Cook Strait, and was driven into Guards Bay, where she had to be abandoned. She was later towed into Wellington by the Government steamer Luna and repaired.

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