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Elmete - wreck inquiry

Elmete left Buenos Aires on 28 January 1895 on a voyage for Antwerp with a cargo of wool in bales, grain in bags & 1,240 live sheep. She had a crew of 22 hands & 7 cattle men. At noon on 4 February she was at 21 41 S by 39 54 W at full speed & steering NE by NE ¾ N. At 8pm this was altered to NE & at 8.15 again altered to NE by N ½ N to allow for any extra set of current from the SW. On 5 February a building was observed on an island which was about 10 miles distant which the master thought to be Abrolhos Island off the coast of Brazil so altered course to E.  He thought that the rocks to the west of the island, by the appearance of the chart, would be visible above water. At about 9.30pm a rock was seen about five miles distant which the master thought was the southernmost point of the reef so his vessel was clear of danger but she struck on hidden rocks & held fast & by midnight there was about 5 feet of water in her holds. On 7 February the American Barque Mourovia bore down & stood by but on 12 February the Elmete slipped off the reef & foundered. The barque took the crew on board & landed them at Barbados. The island that the master had seen was Corva Vermelbe so his calculations had taken them about 30 miles off course. The inquiry found that there were no sailing directions on board; the Court did not attribute blame to the owners for this deficiency, but considered that the master ought to have taken care to provide himself with proper sailing directions which he was empowered to do by the owners. The Court did not consider the evidence conclusive as to the exact spot on which she struck-and there was no reason to suppose that the reef on which she stranded was not marked on the Admiralty chart. The master was found in default & his certificate was suspended for six months with a recommendation he be granted a mate's certificate for the period.

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