Collision in Otago Harbour

Damaged bows of coastal steamer Calm (left) and barque Rothesay Bay which collided while the...
Damaged bows of coastal steamer Calm (left) and barque Rothesay Bay which collided while the latter was at anchor in the lower Otago Harbour. — Otago Witness, 19.7.1921
Just after dusk last evening the steamer Calm, proceeding down the channel on her way to sea, en-route to Bluff, came into collision with the barque Rothesay Bay (formerly the Activ), which had just been anchored off Rocky Point, near Carey Bay, to await the tide in order that she might be towed up to Dunedin in the morning.

The tug Dunedin had just left the Rothesay Bay, and the pilot, Captain Duncan, was still on board the barque, having decided to have his tea with the master of the vessel, Captain Campbell. The Calm struck the barque’s bow, tearing the bowsprit clean out, and herself suffering considerable damage, a large rent being torn between the level of the main deck and the level of the forecastle head.

Neither vessel appears to have suffered much injury to the hull, nor to have been damaged below the waterline. The barque remained at her anchorage, and the Calm lay off Carey Bay, both waiting for daylight to ascertain the exact extent of the damage received.

The Rothesay Bay’s bowsprit lies alongside on the starboard side, and the figurehead has been knocked off.

Captain Campbell has had to rig special tackles and gear to support the foremast. The Rothesay Bay came across from Hobart with a cargo of hardwood, partly for Dunedin and partly for Wellington.

She made a fast passage of six days, and Captain Campbell is none too pleased that such a performance should have been greeted with a mishap at the close.

The vessel is owned by the Australian Ship Activ Ltd. She was signalled off the Heads yesterday morning, and taken in tow by the tug Dunedin on her arrival in the afternoon. She is a vessel of 762 tons. The Calm is under the command of Captain Braidwood, and is of 890 tons.

The owners are the Canterbury Steam Shipping Co. There is, of course, great reticence in regard to the cause of the mishap. There are the usual surmises, but nothing of a definite character was obtainable last night. The Rothesay Bay’s anchorage appears to be a usual one.

Language problem solved

One of those amusing incidents which sometimes relieve the tension of court proceedings occurred at the Lyttelton Magistrate’s court on Tuesday (says the Christchurch Press). A French seaman appeared on a charge of drunkenness. As the man apparently knew no English, and there was no interpreter available, the court officials were in a quandary. They could not proceed with the case until the man had had the nature of the charge explained to him, and been given an opportunity of pleading.

After some delay a Court official ventured a little French.  “Veus avez buvais yesterday?” he inquired tentatively.

The prisoner was plainly puzzled.

The official tried again: “Ils dit vous avez buvais yesterday?” he said. The Frenchman was still puzzled.

Thereupon a police constable with a suspicion of a Hibernian accent, interjected with:  “Hey! Henri, was you drunk yesterday?”  “Oui, yes,” he exclaimed amiable. “Ver droonk.”

Amid the laughter which followed he was convicted and discharged.

- ODT, 8.7.1921.



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