The Board of Trade inquiry

The Board of Trade inquiry into the loss of the Princess Alice practically came to a close on Monday. Mr. Scott Russell and other eminent shipbuilders gave evidence as to the seaworthiness of the Princess Alice. They were unanimously of opinion that she was in such 0. condition as thoroughly to justify the certificate of the Board of Trade. The legal gentlemen representing the various interested parties addressed the Commissioner, and at the close of their speeches the decision of the Court was given. It was to the eflcct that none of the charges brought by the Board of Trade had been sustained that Captain Harrison had not neglected to keep on efilcient look-out on the Bywell Castle; that the engineers, Dimclow and Thom, did not contribute to the casualty; that Long, the first mate of the Princess Alice, neglected to station on efficient look-out, but did not thereby contribute to the collision. All the certificates were therefore returned, the Court remarking that that of Long was returned with reluctance. There was another meeting on Thursday. Mr. Mansel Jones addressed the Court, and defended the Board of Trade from the charges that had been brought against it by Captain Pim, contending that the Princess Alice was properly surveyed, and was perfectly fit for the service for which she was intended. Mr. Balguy intimated that he and his friends beside him would make their report on the main question involved in the collision to the Board of Trade as speedily as possible.—The inquest at Woolwich was on Wednesday adjourned to Tuesday next, when the Coroner hopes to conclude the inquiry. (November 2 1878): 418. (in untitled column of news)

1. Official report of the Commissioners appointed by the Board of Trade

Last Saturday the official report of the Commissioners appointed by the Board of Trade to inquire into the loss of the Princess Alice was issued. The Court finds the cause of the casualty to have been a breach of rule 29 of the Thames Conservancy regulations by the Princess Alice not porting her helm when she came end on the Bywell Castle, a vessel coming in the opposite direction. Recommendations are made with respect to the navigation of the river as precautions against the recurrence of similar disasters. [From “Loss of the Princess Alice”]

2. Decision of the Coroner’s Jury

The Coroner’ a jury in this case, being unable to agree Wednesday evening, were locked up all mght. At half-past seven on Thursday morning they agreed to the following verdict, fifteen out of the nineteen jurymen signed an inquisition returned:——“That the deaths of the said “William Beachey and others were occasioned by drowning in the waters of the river, from a collision that took place after sunset between a steam-vessel called the Bywell Castle steam-vessel called the Princess Alice, whereby the Alice was cut in two and sank; such collision not being willful. That the Bywell Castle did not take the necessary precautions in time for easing, stopping, and reversing her engines; and that the Princess Alice contributed to the collision by not stopping and going astern. That all collisions, in the opinion of the jury, might be in future avoided if proper and stringent rules and regulations were laid down for the navigation of steam traflic on the River Thames.”-—The following addenda were made to the verdict:—“1, We consider the Princess Alice was on Sept. 3 seaworthy; 2. We think the Princess Alice was not properly and sufliciently manned; We think the number of persons on board the Princess Princess was more than was prudent; 4, We think the means of saving life on board the Princess Alice were insuflicient for a vessel class.” [462] [From “Loss of the Princess Alice”]

Last modified 10 August 2018