Fog on the Coast
Shields Trawler Ashore

This morning the navigation at the mouth the Tyne was rendered very hazardous in consequence of the prevalence of a dense fog, and the shipping movements were much impeded.

While the Shields trawler Rover was making for the Corporation Fish Quay, from the fishing ground early this morning, she stranded in a thick fog at Manhaven. The vessel subsequently heeled over on her starboard side, but the captain and crew fortunately saved themselves in their own boat and safely reached the land. It is feared that the Rover is extensively damaged.
The stranded vessel lies a little south of the volunteer encampment, and the visitors have crowded during the morning to the cliff tops to view the scene of the casualty. The Rover lies in a serious position, since she ran ashore on the most dangerous part of that coast she has completely heeled over on her starboard broadside, her decks being now submerged. -Two tugs are knocking about the vicinity with the hope of towing the Rover off, but the prospect appears extremely poor, as she is firmly fixed on the rocks.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 June 1901

The Stranding of the Rover
Board of Trade Inquiry

Yesterday a Board of Trade inquiry was opened in the Town Hall Buildings North Shields, into the stranding the steam trawler Rover, of North Shields, near Souter Point, on the morning of the 28th ult. The magistrates were Ald. Armstrong and Ald. Collins and nautical assessors, Captain Cosens, W. H. Sinclair Loutit, Captain Callard. Mr Percy Corder, of Newcastle, conducted the case on behalf of the Board of Trade. Mr R. Jacks, of South Shields, appeared on behalf of the master, and Mr Roche, of Newcastle, watched the proceedings on behalf of the underwriters.

Mr Corder said the Rover was a wooden trawler built at Blyth in 1897. She had a length of about 95 feet, a breadth of 18ft. 4in., and depth 10ft 5in.. She belonged to the Rover Steamship Company Ltd., of No. Shields, of which Mr Purdy was manager. The vessel carried a crew of eight hands, and left Hartlepool on the 26th June last for the fishing grounds, and continued to trawl on the nights of the 26th and 27th. The final “drag" was made at midnight the 27th ult., and preparations were made to return to North Shields. A cast of the lead was taken at about midnight, and 41 fathoms of water was found. In the judgment of the master, the vessel was then about 12 miles east by south of Souter Point. At 1 a.m. on the 28th she finally started on her return, and at that time the weather appeared to be calm but thick, and the wind was from the north-west. Shortly after 1-30 a.m. a second cast of the lead was taken, and they found they were in 25 fathoms of water. Shortly after 2 a.m. the vessel took the ground, the master being at the wheel and the third hand on the look-out. The latter called to the master "Land ahead!" The vessel at that time was going slow about 4 or 41/2 knots an hour, and although her engines were put astern it seemed to have had practically no effect. Efforts were put forth to try and get the vessel off but she became a total wreck. He pointed out to the Court that there would be contradictions in the testimony of some of the witnesses with respect to the weather when the vessel went ashore. A witness named Varley, who lived near Souter Point, would tell them that at 3 a.m. on the 28th, he was called up by his invalid daughter, and, on going out, he could see 100 or 200 yards. Another witness who was fishing at Frenchmen's Bay, would tell them that from 11 o'clock on the night of the 27th. until about 2-30 a.m. on the 28th, although thick, it was possible to see about 200 yards distance. At ten minutes to three he saw the Rover at a distance which he estimated to be between 600 and 700 yards. Another important witness was Mr Purvis, pilot, who left Tyne Dock, early on the morning of the 28th in ┬ácharge of a vessel. Be returned about a quarter past three, and when a distance from the piers he could not only see Souter Point light but could also see St. Mary's Island light. The Souter Point lighthouse keeper considered that it was not thick enough to sound the foghorn until 4-20 on the morning of the 28th..

Wm. Edward Aldred, master of the vessel, gave evidence bearing out in part this statement.

The mate was the next witness and stated that in his opinion the vessel was going at three-quarter speed, and at half speed when she grounded.
Evidence was also given by Ed. Kimby, third hand; Robert Percival, engineer; Matthew Burke, fireman; Thos. Varley, a resident at Marsden; Chas. Taylor, salmon fisherman; Wm. Purvis, pilot, South Shields; Wm. Tracey, coastguard, South Shields; Charles Edward Retchie, coastguard, Marsden; and Henry Tilley deputy light keeper, Souter Point, after which the Court adjourned until 11-30 to-day, when judgment will be given.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 31 July 1901

Judgement of the Court

This afternoon at North Shields, judgment was given in connection with the inquiry into the circumstances attending the stranding and subsequent total loss of the steam trawler Rover, near Souter Point, on the 28th ult. The court found that the master, Mr W. E. Aldred, had neglected to reduce the speed of the vessel, and to use the lead after 1 30 on the morning of the stranding. The weather was thick with fog at the time of the casualty, and the fog signal at Souter Point not sounded. The vessel was not navigated with proper and seamanlike care. Her loss was not caused by the wrongful act of the mate, Mr Gabriel Durrant, but by the master. Having regard for his long record of good service, however, the Court did not deal with his certificate, but censured him for not using the lead, which was the only safeguard in the circumstances.

The mate thanked the court for the judgment they had returned, view of the contradictory statements made the witnesses, with regard to the weather.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 31 July 1901