Maritime inquiry 1939 - 1945
The information below regarding ships in the Nortraship fleet is a direct transcript of the original source "Sjøforklaringer fra andre verdenskrig (1940 - 1945)". The informasjon is collected from maritime inquiries held during and right after the war. The information may differ from the other quality assured information in Krigsseilerregisteret.
The number of the crew was 33. Passengers: - 2 consular passengers, one of whom had come on board at Calcutta and one at Port Said. No one perished. The master produced the ship's Log Books and an extract in conformity with same, to which he referred in every respect. ...
2. 2nd Officer Trond Eriksen was the officer on watch. Arne Lund was the look-out man and was on the forecastle. The officer on watch was on the bridge.
4. The vessel's master was on the bridge.
5. Kaare Hegstad was the helmsman. There was steered 98 true. Steering was done by means of telemotor transmitted to electric steering apparatus aft.
6. There was neither pilot nor local pilot on board.
7. The vessel's speed was 3 1/2 miles. The number of engine revolutions was about 60.
8. The collision occurred in daylight.
10. The oncoming vessel was first seen at a distance of about 50 metres at about 40 degrees forward of abeam to port directly before the collision occurred. There was about 3 minutes from the time when the oncoming vessel was seen and until the moment of the collision.
12. Usual fog signals were heard the whole time from the other vessel.
13. On being questioned as to whether steam whistle was being used, the witness replied:- Yes, at the regulation time. Both fog horn and steam whistle were in good order. The air whistle was placed on the fore mast.
14. One short blast on the whistle was given from own vessel after we had seen the oncoming vessel.
15. There was rung full speed ahead on the port engine and full speed astern on the starboard engine, at the same time there was given hard starboard wheel.
16. Directly before the collision occurred, 3 short blasts were heard from the oncoming vessel.
17. Our own speed at the time of the collision was 3 1/2 miles. The speed of the oncoming vessel was considerably greater, estimated at 5 to 6 miles.
18. Yes, the witness eyes have been examined and found in order.
19. No, none of those on watch had partaken of intoxicating drink.
22. In the opinion of the witness, the cause of the collision was wrong manouevring on the part of the other vessel as she altered course without knowing the position and course of the m.s. "Tennessee".
With regard to the subsequent grounding, the master stated that this was due to fog and in addition unusual and incalculable current must have taken the vessel out of her course.
2. On being questioned as to whether there was any fault or defect in the vessel, her instruments or equipment, the witness replied: No. The vessel was in completely sea worthy condition on departure from Kirkwall.
3. On being questioned as to whether there had been error or neclect on the part of the master, crew, pilot or local pilot, the witness replied: No. On account of the damage in consequence of the collision they had to try to reach land as quickly as possible.
4. On being questioned as to whether there was any lack of charts, lights or beacons or such like, the witness replied: No.
9. On being questioned about the compasses, the witness replied that these were in complete order.
11. At each alteration of course, deviation tests were made. The last deviation test was made on going outwards between 12 and 1 o'clock. The vessel had a list of about 6 degrees before the grounding.
12. On being questioned whether the course steered, since the last position was ascertained, had been carefully fixed and set out on the chart, the witness replied: Yes.
13. According to the dead reckoning, calculated from the last observation, the vessel should, at the time of the grounding, be about 59.0 North and 2.45 West according to course and distance covered.
15. They were occupied with taking soundings when the grounding took place.
16. On being questioned as to what kind of log was being used, the witness replied that the log was lost in consequence of the collision. Earlier, during the voyage, two spare logs had been lost so that after the collision the vessel could not put out a log.
17. Before the grounding, the vessel was proceeding at varying speed half speed and slow speed, at the time of the grounding about 2 miles.
Appeared as first witness, Trond Eriksen ...
The witness stated that he was the 2nd officer on the m.s. "Tennessee" and that he was on watch on the bridge when the collision took place.
The witness stated that he came on watch at 12 o'clock noon. The convoy was then under way, but the witness could not see any of the other 7 ships as the fog was as thick as porridge. Neither could the convoy buoy aft be seen.
There was steered in accordance with the instructions given to us by the Admiralty. The master was on the bridge all the time.
Fog signals were continuously being given. The m.s. "Tennessee" was leading ship of the convoy.
We were in communication with a vessel to port which, to commece with, was evidently proceeding parallel with the m.s. "Tennessee". Suddenly, that vessel emerged from the fog and with a course which crossed that of the m.s. "Tennessee". There was at once given hard starboard wheel and full speed ahead on the port engine and full speed astern on the stbd engine, but collision could not be avoided.
The other vessel, the name of which was the s.s. "Baron Farilie" rang (went?) astern. The vessels's bow struck the m.s. "Tennessee" abaftg the saloon house in way of the No. 3 hatch. It was the "paravane fitting" (an arrangement for the protection of the vessel against mines) of the s.s. "Baron Fairlie" which caused a hole in the side of the m.s. "Tennessee".
The witness stated that the s.s. "Baron Fairlie" had been given the place as last ship in the convoy, but had passed the other vessels of the column. The witness cannot make any statement as to why she had proceeded ahead and had left her place in the line.
On being qustioned as to the speed of the oncoming vessel, the witness stated that he cannot say anything definite about her speed. The whole thing happened so quickly. He could however see that she had a certain speed when she ran into the m.s. "Tennessee" judging by the bow wave.
The s.s. "Baron Farilie" had, on her own initiative, altered course without waiting for tghe leading ship, which was the m.s. "Tennessee" to make course alteration whcih, according to the Admiralty's instructions, should be made at a certain position. It waqs just before the m.s. "Tennessee" was going to make this course alteration.
On account of the premature course alteration, the s.s. "Baron Fairlie" course was athwart that of the m.s. "Tennessee".
The witness heard the oncoming vessel give 3 short blasts in the whistle when she observed the m.s. "Tennessee" just before the collision.
After the collision it was decided to return to Kirkwall and followed the same course line back as had been set out in the chart. When we had arrived at a place which in our opinion was the entrance to Kirkwall we stopped in order to take soundings. The witness was on the way down with the sounding gear when the vessel grounded.
The witness stated that the current was exceedingly varying and with the varying speed the current must have put the vessel out of her course. The fog was thick right until after the grounding.