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Another Rescue at Sea

(A  newspaper extract believed again to be from the Sydney Morning Herald)

AUGUST 23, 1889. A DISABLED STEAMER.  SIXTEEN HOURS SIGNALLING FOR ASSISTANCE.

THE CAPTAIN'S REPORT.

Almost simultaneous with the arrival here yesterday morning of the RMS Victoria, which steamer also brought news of having seen an unknown vessel off the coast sending up rockets and burning a flare-up, the news came by wire that the steamer Fiado was seen passing Jervis Bay in tow of the steamer Victorian. A notice to this effect was posted the first thing at the Merchants' Exchange, and was the cause of some comment as to why the Fiado was towing towards Sydney, it being known that steamers are constantly passing in the other direction bound to Melbourne, the port to which the Fiado was believed to be expected at. 

It was about 7 o'clock on Wednesday night, according to the report of the P. and 0. Company's mail steamer Victoria when the rockets were seen off Montague Island. Says the report-" We bore down towards the vessel making the signals for assistance, and found her to be a steamer with three red lights burning, evidently disabled. As no other signals were made it was thought that the steamer had been signalling to Montague Island, so the Victoria proceeded on her voyage. 

In this conclusion the captain of the big mail steamer was in error, according to the following report of the master of Fiado. He said "We left Newcastle on Tuesday morning last for Melbourne, as usual, with 1200 tons of coal on board. The weather was fine, and the wind light; indeed, it seems a mystery how the broken shaft was caused, but at 7 o'clock on the next morning, when we were about 20 miles off Montague, the ship suddenly came to a standstill. The water was perfectly smooth, and the weather fine. There was no wind to sail with, so the vessel rolled about helplessly, and our only chance was to pick up assistance from some passing steamer. During the forenoon a steamer was sighted, and we immediately signalled her, but she passed on, taking no notice. As the day wore on another vessel showed up bound south, and passed on, though they must have been aware that a steamer lying with her bead off shore and under canvas only, as we were, was broken down. Two steamers went by in this manner bound to Sydney or to Newcastle, and two passed us going south. The weather looked threatening, and there was a rising sea from the southward. With the small spread of canvas we had, and dragging a propeller astern, not much headway, even with a favourable wind, would be possible. Towards dusk another steamer hove in sight, and it was light enough for us to make out, or nearly make out, who she was. She took no notice however, and kept on her course northwards. A little after dark the mail-boat was sighted and a rocket was sent up, also a flare-up kept going. We idly expected she would have made us out, but were again disappointed. We were then 12 hours helplessly knocking at out, and no nearer assistance than when we first broke down. Soon after 9 o'clock another light was seen to the southward, and at 11 o'clock, having been 16. hours waiting for help, the Adelaide Steamship Company's steamer Victorian, Captain Creer, bound to Sydney, bad made fast to us and we were thankful to be out of our difficulties." 

The Fiado is in command of Captain W. H. Laycock. She belongs to Messrs. Win. Howard Smith and Sons, Limited, and is a well-known coaster. It will readily he believed in the face of the repeated hopes and disappointments Captain Laycock experienced be is in earnest when he states that he was never more thankful in his life than when Captain Creer hailed him. His reasonable expectation was that he would not have much difficulty in getting a tow, and considering the traffic there is along this coast that opinion will be held pretty generally. That it is possible to require help and to signal for it to passing vessels without securing it, seems to be pretty clearly shown in the Fiado's case, however such an experience of the kind may appear impossible to people ashore.

 

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