Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry




sailor, Storstad,




Examined by Mr. Haight (through interpreter):


5085. You were one of the sailors on the Storstad at the time of the collision?
- Yes.

5086. When did you join the Storstad?
- 11th of May.

5087. How long have you been going to sea?
- Two years and a half.

5088. What was your watch on deck on the night of the collision?
- Watch from 12 to 4.

5089. When you came on watch at 12, what did you first do?
- I was on the lookout from 12 o’clock until 20 minutes past one.

5090. And after you left lookout at 1.20, what did you then do?
- Went to the wheel.

5091. How long were you at the wheel?
- Twenty minutes to three.

5092. When you left the wheel who relieved you?
- Peter Johannsen.

5093. When you were relieved, where did you go?
- Aft in the forecastle.

5094. What were you doing back there?
- Taking a smoke.

5095. While you were off duty between 2.40 and 4, what was the first thing that you noticed about your engines that was out of the usual?
- No, sir.

5096. Please state whether you noticed any change in your engines while you were back there smoking?
- Not before they stopped.

5097. After the engines stopped, did you notice any other change?
- When the engines stopped, I went on deck.

5098. Now, what happened after you came on deck?
- Three or four minutes after I came on deck the collision happened.

5099. Do you know how your engines were running just before the collision?
- Astern.

5100. Did you see the other steamer at any time before the collision?
- When I came we had the other steamer just on the port bow.

5101. Before the vessels came together, could you tell whether the other steamer was moving or not?
- No, sir.

5102. When you saw the other steamer, what did you do?
- I stayed aft until the collision happened and then I went forward.

5103. What did you do when you went forward?
- I got orders to go to the life boat.

5101. Which boat were you on?
- Starboard boat.


Cross-examined by Mr. Aspinall:


5105. Did you say that you came out from the forecastle three or four minutes before the collision?
- I can’t say exactly; I had no watch.

5106. But you have said so, haven’t you?
- Yes.

5107. “As soon as I came out, I saw the Empress on my port bow”?
- Yes, sir.

5108. Is that right?
- Yes, sir.

5109. How far do you think you could see the masthead light?

Lord Mersey:
(to interpreter). - What did you say to him? In the language which you are using, what did you say?

(Question repeated by Interpreter in Norwegian language).

Lord Mersey:
That was not the question.

The Interpreter:
That is what I understood.

Lord Mersey:
It was “how far,” not “how long.” In Norwegian is "wie lange,” the same as “wie weit” in German?
- Yes.

5110. Do you know German?

The Interpreter:
Yes, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Do you know the difference between “wie lange,” and "wie weit”?

The Interpreter:
Yes, I know the difference, but it is not the same in Norwegian.

Lord Mersey:
It is a very great difference.

The Interpreter:
It is a very great difference, yes; one means “how long,” and the other means “how wide.”

Lord Mersey:
(to Mr. Aspinall). - I understood you to ask him “how far,” and the interpreter certainly asked him “wie lange,” which seems to me to be not the interpretation.

The Interpreter:
My Lord, it is the exact interpretation in our language.

Lord Mersey:
I am not criticising your Norwegian, because I do not understand it, but it seemed to me that the interpretation was not accurate.


By Mr. Aspinall:


5111. Put it to him again.
- I can’t say.

Lord Mersey:
Ask him to form an estimate, if he can?
- No, I can’t say that.


By Mr. Aspinall:


5112. When you saw this vessel on your port bow first, how far away was she from you?
- I can’t say.

5113. Do you often keep the lookout?
- Yes.

5114. And you have to judge distances at sea?
- Yes.

5115. Do you usually remember what is being done with your engines?
- I could hear them ring up full speed astern.

5116. Where were you when you could hear them ring up full speed astern?
- I didn’t hear the bell from the engine room; I noticed it by the vibration.

5117. Why do you say you did not hear them ring up full speed astern?
- I could notice that the propeller was working astern.


By Mr. Haight:


5118. Where were you standing when you say you felt the vibration of the engines going astern?
- In the forecastle door.

5119. How near is that to the stern of the ship?
- Seven or eight feet.

5120. Are all the crew’s quarters in the stern of the ship?
- Yes, sir.


Witness retired.