Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

SECOND DAY.

 

QUEBEC,

WEDNESDAY, June 17, 1914.

 

The Commissioners appointed by the Honourable John Douglas Hazen, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries of Canada, under Part X of the Canada Shipping Act as amended, to enquire into a casualty to the British Steamship Empress of Ireland, in which the said steamship belonging to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company was sunk in collision with the Norwegian Steamship Storstad, in the River St. Lawrence on the morning of Friday the 29th day of May, 1914, met at Quebec this morning, the seventeenth day of June, 1914.

 

WITNESS.

Alfred Severin Gensen Toftenes - Chief Officer, ss. Storstad.
Recalled - Cross Examined

 

Lord Mersey:
Well, what do you propose to do next?

Mr. Newcombe:
I should think it would be convenient to examine the Master of the Storstad now.

Lord Mersey:
What do you say, Mr. Aspinall?

Mr. Aspinall:
I see no objection to that course.

Mr. Haight:
I should be glad to have him examined, as the Chief Officer tells only about two-thirds of our story.

Lord Mersey:
I think it is convenient to examine the Master of the Storstad now because our minds are following the line that his examination will cover, that is the navigation immediately prior to the collision and afterwards.

Mr. Haight:
And before calling Captain Andersen may I ask what is the court's pleasure as to keeping the Chief Officer in Quebec?

Lord Mersey:
I think he should be kept here for the present; do not let him go at all events without the permission of the Court.

Mr. Haight:
The reason I mention that is that I am asking the other officers to come on, and while I am telling my learned friends that the boat is at their risk, still it is not quite fair for me, perhaps, to take the entire crew of thirty-six officers and men off my ship in Montreal and leave her without caretakers.

Lord Mersey:
Oh no, I sincerely hope we are not to have thirty-six men from your ship.

Mr. Haight:
It will not be quite so bad as that, my Lord, but my crew will all he at the disposal of the other side, and I shall ask ten or twelve of the crew, who manned the boats, to testify about five minutes each.

Lord Mersey:
Well, so far as I am concerned, as soon as these men have been examined I shall allow them all to go away together, but I should not like this witness to go away at present.

Mr. Haight:
I have my first and third officers here now and the second officer is on board the steamer.

Lord Mersey:
Well, I shall only answer your question to this extent, that this gentleman must not go away at present.

Mr. Haight:
Well I would ask that Captain Andersen be now called and sworn.

WITNESS.

Thomas Anderson - Captain, ss. Storstad.
Testimony

 

The Commission resumed at 2.30 p.m.

WITNESS.

Thomas Anderson - Captain, ss. Storstad.
Testimony - Recalled

 

Lord Mersey:
Who is to be the next witness?

Mr. Newcombe:
I think my learned friend will call the first officer of the Empress. Our Norwegian interpreter has not arrived and I am afraid we cannot call another witness from the Storstad to-day.

Lord Mersey:
They all speak Norwegian?

Mr. Newcombe:
They speak English very imperfectly and they prefer to testify in their own language.

WITNESS.

Edward Jones - First Officer, ss. Empress of Ireland.
Testimony

Lord Mersey:
Mr. Haight asked for something to be done on the chart. It seems to me that if that is to be of any service to us it would be desirable for Captain Kendall to take the chart, and for this witness to do the same, and also the other man - I have forgotten his name, but the man who was on the bridge of the Storstad - his name begins with a T - he should also take the chart and they should make, not in conjunction but separately, a drawing on the chart of wliat they say the movements of these two ships were from the time they first sighted each other up to the time of the collision. That is, if in your opinion it is of importance.

Mr. Aspinall:
I do not think it is. I have no doubt, however, that Captain Kendall is in court and we will have three charts and have Captain Kendall make one and Mr. Jones make one and Mr. Toftenes, the first officer of the Storstad, make another, all separate.

My Lord, I am told we have bought out the shop of all the charts that are available in Quebec.

Lord Mersey:
The supply is exhausted.

Mr. Newcombe:
I have one here that you may have.

Lord Mersey:
Well, we should not let one man see what the other has done.

Mr. Aspinall:
And might I suggest, my Lord, that each man should do it alone, without any assistance, though I would not suggest that anything improper would be done on either side.

Lord Mersey:
Yes, each must do it alone - now how many charts have we in court. We have one here, I believe.

Mr. Aspinall:
We have two, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
And is two the whole stock in Quebec?

Mr. Aspinall:
I have one and my learned friend Mr. Newcombe has one

Lord Mersey:
Mr. Haight, have you one?

Mr. Haight:
Mine is very much disfigured, my Lord, by a great many diagrams.

Lord Mersey:
Well, are there any blue or red pencils? - A. [sic] Have you one of these charts, Mr. Newcombe?

Mr. Newcombe:
I have, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Captain Andersen knew nothing about it - he only came on the bridge a few seconds before the collision took place, so it would be useless to ask bim to do that. Now, is Captain Kendall in Court?

Captain Kendall:
Yes, my Lord.

WITNESS.

George Henry Kendall - Captain, ss. Empress of Ireland.
Testimony - Re-examined.

Mr. Haight:
My only request was that the second officer should do it.

Lord Mersey:
And you know that your man is to do it as well?

Mr. Haight:
Yes, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Who is your next witness?

Mr. Aspinall:
Our next witness will be John Carroll, the look-out on the Empress of Ireland.

WITNESS.

John Carroll - Able Seaman, ss. Empress of Ireland.
Testimony

Lord Mersey:
Now, Mr. Aspinall, we want the man that was on the bridge of the Storstad.

Mr. Aspinall:
Yes, my Lord, Mr. Toftenes.

Lord Mersey:
Is he here?

Mr. Aspinall:
Yes, my Lord, he is here.

Lord Mersey:
We want him to take another chart and mark what he says is the course of the Empress, and if you can give him one of the plans and send him into a room by himself we will see what he hatches.

Mr. Haight:
I find that the supply of charts in Quebec is not quite exhausted, my Lord. I have a fresh chart here.

Lord Mersey:
Hand me up the chart, please.

Mr. Haight:
Here it is, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Now if Mr. Toftenes is here, I, would ask him to come up behind the Bench for a moment.

Mr. Toftenes:
Yes, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Where is the chart upon which this witness marked the point of the collision according to his idea of its locality?

Mr. Haight:
It is one of the exhibits, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
It does not quite agree with the point marked by Captain Kendall.

Mr. Haight:
Not quite, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
But substantially it does.

Mr. Haight:
It is nearer the shore than the point marked by Captain Kendall. I believe it was the chart B that was marked by Mr. Toftenes.

Lord Mersey:
How is the last witness who was in the box disposed of?

Mr. Haight:
Yes, my Lord, he is so far as I am concerned.

Lord Mersey:
Does any one want to ask him any more questions? I hope no one does. If no one wishes to ask him any more questions, I would ask Mr. Aspinall who will be his next witness.

Mr. Aspinall:
The next witness we propose to call is a man by the name of Murphy, one of the quartermasters, and he will be examined by my learned friend, Mr. Meredith.

WITNESS.

John Murphy - Quartermaster, ss. Empress of Ireland.
Testimony

Lord Mersey:
Unless any of you gentlemen think differently the two last witnesses can now go to their homes or wherever their business takes them. I mean this witness and the gentleman from the Crowsnest. They can go away anywhere.

(The Commission thereupon adjourned till 10 a.m. Thursday, June 18.)