Star of Canada 1912

Star of Canada 1912

STAR OF CANADA, steamer : During a fierce southerly squall at midnight on June 23, 1912, the Star of Canada, lying at anchor in the Gisborne Roadstead, was blown ashore on Kaiti Beach, and eventually became a total wreck. The night was the wildest experienced at Gisborne for many years. A strong south-westerly gale was blowing, with terrific squalls. At 11.30 p.m. the sound of rockets was heard, and subsequently Morse signals were seen flashing from the steamer, which was perilously close to the shore. The signals indicated that the ship was rapidly dragging her anchors and drifting ashore. The tug Hipi was sent to the steamer’s assistance, but nothing could be done.

It was later ascertained that the Star of Canada had water in three holds.

Captain J. M. Hart, master of the Star of Canada, stated that as the wind increased about 10 p.m. and the weather was threatening he decided to take the ship to sea, and ordered steam to be raised and all hands to stand by to haul up the anchor. Up to this time the anchor had held without any sign of dragging, but at 11.15 p.m. it was found to be dragging, and before anything could be done to get the second anchor down or to go to sea the vessel had touched on a rock. Efforts were made to back the ship out, but it was found impossible to move her either aft or forward. The second anchor was dropped in the meantime, with the hope of keeping the ship’s head on to the sea and preventing her going on the rocks. Finding all efforts fruitless, the engines were stopped. The Star of Canada was lying in what the harbourmaster had stated was the best anchorage in the bay, five and a third cables’ length from the reef. The rapidity with which the steamer went on the rocks was astounding, considering her position.

Before daylight on June 24 there were 17 feet of water in Nos. 1, 2 and 3 holds, extending from the bow to the bridge. The best salvage plant that could be obtained in New Zealand was hurried to the spot, but the ship could not be moved from her precarious position, and she soon commenced to break up. The vessel rested on the rocks from amidships forward in a depth of three fathoms, and five and a half fathoms aft. The ship was almost broadside on to the sea, and broken water both ahead and astern indicated the location of reefs. On July 3 it was ascertained that the £tar of Canada had sustained a broken back in the vicinity of the foremast. The ship then presented a dreary spectacle. She was deserted, and her forward decks were just awash in the high tides. The steamer was abandoned to the underwriters on July 8.

The Court of Inquiry’s finding exonerated Captain Hart and the officers of the vessel from blame and returned their certificates. The court found that the loss was caused by the vessel dragging her anchor, and that there was no misconduct or neglect. The captain and officers left the court without the slightest stain on their professional reputations.

The Star of Canada, No. 129,627, was a steel, twin-screw steamer of 7,280 tons gross and 4,623 tons net register, built at Belfast in October, 1909, by Messrs. Workman, Clark and Company, and her dimensions were: length 470.3 ft., beam 58.4 ft., depth 31.6 ft. Her engines were of 749 h.p, nominal. The Star of Canada was owned by the Star Line Ltd. (See plate 65.) a.1 7

MANAIA, oil launch : On June 16, 1912, the vessel stranded on the north-west end of Chicker Island, Hauraki Gulf, and became a total wreck The loss of the vessel was caused through the engine stopping after the anchor was weighed and, on the anchor being dropped again, failing to hold. The vessel then drifted, struck a rock, anc sank.

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