Serious Collision off the Tyne
Sinking of a Whitby Steamer
Narrow Escape of Crew

Shortly before twelve o'clock last night collision occurred off the Tyne, by which a steamer was sunk, and the crew had a narrow escape from drowning. It. appears the screwsteamer Stainsacre, of Whitby, coal laden, was leaving the river, and when just beyond the piers was run into by the screw steamer Harvest, of West Hartlepool, which was about to enter Shields Harbour in ballast. The first named steamer was struck on the starboard side, forward of the bridge, and cut down the water’s edge. She soon commenced to settle down, and foundered within twenty minutes. The crew were saved by the tugs Senna, of North Shields, and Friends, of South Shields, and several boatmen who happened to be near the scene. The captain of the Stainsacre was found clinging to some wreckage and several others were overboard. Altogether,17 hands were picked up and landed North Shields, when they were taken to the Sailors' Home. The Harvest remained by till all the crew were saved, and burnt lights to give assistance. She was extensively damaged about the stern but was able to enter the harbour, and now lies at Edwards's Buoys, South Shields.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 December 1885

The Terrible Collision off the Tyne
Later Particulars

We learn from an interview with the crew, this morning, that shortly before eleven o'clock last night, the screw-steamer Stainsacre, of Whitby, coal-laden, sailed from the Tyne, bound for Copenhagen. About five minutes before 11, when two miles off the harbour, Tynemouth light bearing immediately abreast of them, they became suddenly conscious of a steamer, a very short distance off, bearing fast down upon them. The engines were promptly put full speed astern, but almost at the same moment the vessels collided. The Stainsacre was struck amidships, between the mast and the bridge, and with such force as cause the vessels to be locked together. The name of the other steamer, it then transpired was Harvest, of West Hartlepool, in ballast, from Terneuzen for the Tyne. The bows of the latter vessel penetrated the Stainsacre below the water level, and she immediately began to settle down, The vessels remained locked together until nearly the whole of the crew of the sinking vessel, by means of ropes, were taken on board of the Harvest. The moment the vessels parted there was a terrific inrush of water through the cavity in the side of the Stainsacre and in less than five minutes she foundered. From the time the vessels collided until the sinking of the Stainsacre less than ten minutes had elapsed. The first engineer, C. M. Spence, was called on deck just in time to see the vessels separate. The second engineer of the Stainsacre were also left behind and all three immediately took the water. Captain Stainsthorpe was the last to leave the vessel and he was found clinging to some wreckage. Blue lights were burnt from the Harvest, and the steam tugs Selina and Friends were attracted to the rescue and succeeded in picking the three last named officers. When rescued they were benumbed with cold and in a semi-conscious state, having been in the water ten minutes. Altogether thirteen persons were rescued, and were early in the morning landed at the New Quay, North Shields, and taken to the Sailors' Home, where kind attention was shown to them. The crew saved none their clothing or effects. The Harvest was extensively damaged about the stem.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 December 1885

The Collision off the Tyne

The Harbour Master (Captain Bruce) and his officials have taken soundings at the sunken steamer Stainsacre, with the view to ascertain her exact position. The vessel is lying on her broadside angling, with her head north-east, about two cables lengths to the eastward the South Pier buoy. Tynemouth Castle Light bears northwest half north, and the harbour light houses are a little open southward. The Harbour Master yesterday afternoon caused a wreck buoy to be placed over the sunken vessel, and at night a steam tug, exhibiting two horizontal white lights, hovers near the spot. The vessel at low water is covered by twelve feet of water.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 December 1885

The Sunken Steamer Stainsacre

The harbour authorities are busily engaged laying 400lbs of gelatine under the steamer Stainsacre which vessel, it will be remembered was sunk off the mouth the Tyne by collision time ago, it having been determined to blow her up. Precautions are strictly taken to keep clear the traffic.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 17 December 1885

Collision off the Tyne

In the Court of Admiralty, yesterday, before Mr Justice Butt and two Trinity Masters, an action was brought by the owners (Turnbull and Son) of the Stainsacre, belonging to Whitby, against the owners of the Harvest (English and Co., of West Hartlepool), for damages arising off the entrance to the Tyne, about two cable lengths outside the piers. The case of the plaintiffs was that the Stainsacre being a screw steamship of 705 tons, was on a voyage from Howden Dock, in the Tyne, to Copenhagen, with a cargo of coals, and manned by a crew of 17 hands. Shortly before eleven p.m., the 30th November last, the Stainsacre had passed the Herd buoy, and was approaching the South Pier, and well over to the south of mid-channel, and was making about five or six knots an hour. The night was fine and clear. The Harvest was about three points on the starboard bow of the Stainsacre and about a mile distant, but no masthead light was visible. When the Stainsacre cleared the end of the North Pier, her helm was put hard a port, but shortly afterwards two short blasts of steam whistle were heard from the Harvest. The Stainsacre's helm was put hard a starboard, and two short blasts of her whistle were blown, immediately afterwards, the red light of the Harvest alone continuing open, the engines of the Stainsacre were put full speed astern, and her whistle blown three short blasts, but the Harvest came on fast and with her stem and starboard bow struck the starboard side of the Stainsacre, and she sank five minutes after the collision. The Stainsacre's witnesses alleged that the Harvest approached the entrance of the Tyne in such a direction that the vessel was being brought into the port to the south of mid-channel, and neglected to comply with bye-laws 19 and 20 of the Tyne Commissioners' regulations, and further, the harvest ought to have slackened her speed or reversed her engines. The case put forward on behalf of the Harvest was that she was 881 tons register and bound from Terneuzen to the Tyne in ballast. Just before the collision, when the vessels were about quarter of a mile off, some sudden gust of wind extinguished the masthead light. They stated that the Stainsacre neglected to reverse engines, and if they had done so the collision would have been avoided. Judgment was reserved.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 22 December 1885

The Removal of the Sunken Steamer Stainsacre
Successful Operations

On Thursday afternoon another attempt was made to blow up the screw-steamer Stainsacre, of Whitby, sunk about 400 yards off the South Pier. About half-past two o'clock, Mr Messant engineer to the River Tyne Commissioners; Captain Bruce, harbour master; Mr Baguley, deputy harbour master; and Mr Hedley, superintendent of the dredgers, proceeded to the scene of the wreck in order to commence operations. The steam tugs Tynedale and Annandale, in charge of Superintendent Farmer of the River Police, with several of the officers, were stationed north and south the wreck to caution vessels against approaching the scene of the explosion. A large quantity of gelatine had previously been placed against the sides of the steamer by two of the Commissioners' divers, and a communication therewith having been made at the surface, a fuse was attached. All being in readiness the signal was given, and within twenty minutes the explosion took place, followed by a loud crash and the upheaving of the water. After the explosion took place a quantity of wreckage, consisting of cabin fittings, portions of the vessel, spars, masts, &c, were seen floating about, evidencing that the explosion had been successful in a certain degree, and subsequent measures will be taken to ascertain how much of the sunken vessel remains, and steps adopted to remove the other part. Several tugs were engaged by the River Tyne Commissioners to pick up and remove those portions of wreckage blown up, which was done—the spars/masts, &c, being towed into the harbour. The Stainsacre at the time of the collision was laden with 1,500 tons of coals, which no doubt will speedily wash ashore.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 26 December 1885

The Stainsacre Collision

In the Court of Appeal, London, yesterday before Mr Justin Butt, with Trinity Masters— the case of the owners of the Stainsacre and her master and crew v. the Harvest steamship and her freight was heard, The plaintiffs brought this action, which was part heard about a fortnight since, to recover compensation for damage sustained by the loss of their vessel in a collision with the defendant's steamer on the 30th November, 1885, off the entrance to the River Tyne.—lt appeared that the Stainsacre, a screwsteamer of 705 tons, belonging the port of Whitby, at the time of the collision was on a voyage from Howdon Dock to Copenhagen, laden with a cargo of coals. Close upon midnight, the 30th November, those on board the Stainsacre sighted the red light of vessel which proved to be the Harvest. Notwithstanding that the usual precautions were taken of blowing the whistle and reversing the engines of the Stainsacre, as alleged by the plaintiffs, the Harvest came fast, and with her stem struck the starboard side of the Stainsacre, a little abaft the fore-rigging, doing her damage, in consequence of which she sank five minutes afterwards. The Harvest, which belongs to Middlesbrough, was on voyage from Terneuzen to the Tyne in ballast. The defence was a denial of the plaintiff's case, and it was alleged that the mast-head light of the Harvest was blown out by a gust of wind when the two steamers were a quarter of mile apart. The defendants alleged that the collision was caused by the negligent manner in which the Stainsacre was navigated, and they set up a counter claim for the damage sustained to their vessel. Sir W. Phillimore, Q.C., and Mr Barnes appeared for the plaintiffs, and Mr Raikes and Mr Stokes for the defendants.—Mr Justice Butt, in giving the judgment of the Court said that he and the Elder Brethren were agreed that the Harvest had violated the 20th rule of the regulations for the River Tyne. She was on the wrong side, and the evidence of her master was not satisfactory as to the position. The absence of a masthead light misled those on board the Stainsacre, and altogether the Court had no doubt that the Harvest was alone to blame for the collision.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 12 January 1886

The Stainsacre Once More

Since the publication of our note of Saturday last we have received a report addressed by Mr Philip J. Messent to the Harbour and Ferry Committee of the Tyne Improvement Commission, which enables us to seriously qualify the remarks which were made as to the effect of the recent blasting operations on the sunken steamer Stainsacre. The report was drawn up so early as the 11th of January, but for some reason or other its publication has been delayed. It appears from this document that, so far from having failed to answer expectations, the recent blasting operations were attended with complete success. The whole of the wreck has not been removed, it is true, but no remaining portion of it is a danger to navigation. Five charges, containing 900 lbs of blasting gelatine and 250 lbs of dynamite, were placed in different portions of the sunken steamer, and, when exploded, had the effect of rending it to pieces and flattening it down. In the central portion of the vessel, however, no charge was placed, and it still remains practically intact, but at a depth of 28 feet below low water. Had the weather been such as to make diving operations possible, the whole of what now remains the Stainsacre would probably by this time have been removed. However, it is satisfactory to be assured that, although the use of wreck-buoys and the system of night lighting is continued, there is now no real danger to passing ships. In his report on the blasting operations Mr Messent makes some exceedingly sensible and necessary remarks. Vessels whose voyages have occupied many days, or even weeks, are risked, within sight of the harbour, by an attempt to save a few minutes in making the mouth of the river. Whilst engaged in superintending the arrangements for the removal of the Stainsacre, Mr Messent tells us he noticed that the majority of the vessels entering from the South adopted the dangerous plan of going close to the pier buoy, thus crossing the path of the outgoing vessels before getting onto their own side of the channel. "In doing this,” Mr Messent says, “the incoming vessels frequently cross the bows of outgoing vessels in very dangerous proximity, as the south pier prevents one vessel from being seen by those on board the other, when they are approaching simultaneously, until almost too late to avoid collision." An example is adduced of an escape so narrow as to seem almost miraculous. Whilst this practice of saving moments is persevered in by those in charge of incoming vessels, collisions at the mouth of the river are inevitable. Mr Messent's vigorous protest against the evil and dangerous practice cannot be too widely made known.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 26 January 1886

The Sunken Steamer Stainsacre

Yesterday afternoon, about two o'clock, the harbour authorities, including Captain Bruce, harbour master; Mr Carnes, engineer; Mr Hedley, superintendent of the dredgers ; Mr Ellis, and Superintendent Farmer, with staff of the River Tyne Police, proceeded to the sunken wreck of the screw-steamer Stainsacre, lying at the entrance of Shields harbour, 400 yards off the north-pier, which was sunk in collision with the screw steamer Harvest of Hartlepool, some time ago, for the purpose of endeavouring to remove further portions of the vessel. Previously a large quantity of gelatine had been placed by two of the Commissioners' divers under the fore part of the remains of the vessel. Superintendent Farmer had some of his men placed on board the Commissioners' tugs Rapid and Progress, stationed to the northward and southward of the wreck, to warn approaching vessels. A fuze having been lighted, and signals of danger hoisted, within twenty minutes of the lighting of the fuze a terrific explosion took place, resulting in successfully blowing up a large quantity wreckage, consisting of deck planks, bulkhead boards, a quantity of broken spars, &c. Through the explosion an extraordinary quantity of large fish was killed; for some time several boats' crews were busily engaged in picking up the fish as they floated on the surface of the water. The explosion of yesterday has proved successful to a certain degree, and it is considered that a very small portion, if any, of the wreck remains. The explosion, which could be witnessed at a considerable distance, was a very fine sight.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 10 February 1886