Friday, May 26, 2017

Wreck of the brig Thorne 18 May 1831 South African Commercial Advertiser

Transcribed below for easier reading:

On Wednesday last the Brig Thorne sailed out of Table Bay, bound to London, with a cargo of Colonial Produce. When near Robben Island a fog so sudden and dense arose, that the captain could not see beyond the length of the vessel, and she shortly afterwards struck on a rock at the western side of the island. As soon as this distressing accident became known to the Agents, Messrs. Thomson, Watson & Co., they promptly rendered every assistance available: the Northwester, and Messrs. Sinclairs’ and other boats were sent to the vessel.

The Port Captain, also, with his usual vigilance, got on board before any other boat from Cape Town, but as he found the rudder unhung, and the water up to the hold-beams, not the least hope remained of saving the vessel.  The Northwester returned from the wreck on Thursday evening, with a full cargo of beef, hides and skins; and should the weather continue moderate, they expect to save the greater part of the cargo.  Mr. Sinclair superintends the landing of the goods on Robben Island; and we are glad to learn that the Passengers’ baggage was saved.

The master, a young man who succeeded to the command after the recent death of Capt. Johnstone, is plunged into the utmost grief and distress of mind; but from all we can collect, it appears that no blame attaches to him – the heavy fog, and the darkness of the evening, assisted perhaps by the current, being the immediate causes of the misfortune.

The Cape Underwriters may congratulate themselves on their fortunate escape in the present case.  Not a single policy, either on the Thorne or her cargo, was effected at the Cape.  The Insurance of both was done in England and Culcutta, we believe.  The parties insured, however, will thus have to wait about twelve months for the settlement of their several claims, a fact which speaks powerfully in favour of Colonial Underwriting.

Robben Island

Acknowledgement to veteran researcher Sue McKay for all her photography and transcription work, of which I was one grateful recipient.

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