Loss of the FLORA

Loss of the FLORA

Northern Daily Times

Friday April 6th 1855

Loss of the barque FLORA, conviction of Captain and Chief mate

Advices from Port Elizabeth, 18th January

Received at Lloyds report of the wreck in Algoa Bay of the British barque FLORA, ROBINSON Master , with a cargo of merchandise from London, and conviction of captain and 1st mate, Mr BARNS, before Mr Alfred WYLDE acting magistrate of the court of the Admiralty, on a charge of drunkenness and misdemeanour.

Evidence at the investigation by Mr John SULLY 2nd officer of the Flora. After the vessel had arrived at Algoa Bay on the 30th Dec, at about 11am, Capt Robinson went on shore leaving leaving Mr Barns Chief officer in charge.

The ship was riding heavy at two anchors - 20 fathoms on the starboard chain and 35 on the port. At 1pm witness called the chief mate up from below and advised him to give the ship more cable. Burns, who was drunk, persisted, notwithstanding Mr Sully’s earnest caution in having the port chain slackened first, by which the strain became so great on the starboard chain that it parted.

Burns then lit his pipe, and went to bed, having first had the signal flag by which alone it could be signalled to the captain that they had parted anchor and wanted another. Just before 10pm the vessel parted from her port anchor and went on shore where it struck a rock. The chief mate then came on deck but did not seem conscious of what he was doing. Mr Sully and the seamen managed to send a warp on shore and by the means of a cable seven men and a female servant managed to get safely on the beach.

Capt Robinson was hardly ever sober day of night on the passage, other witnesses proved the ship was lost due to the negligence of the captain and chief officer, in not properly mooring the vessel and seeing to the security of the cables - Capt ROBINSON, penalty £5, Mr BURNS one months prison.

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