Official No:    127412     Port Number and Year: 1st in Milford,1908

Description:  Steel side / beam trawler; steam screw; coal burner. Ketch rigged: foresail, mainsail, mizzen. 

Crew: 9 men

Registered at Milford: 28 Jan 1908

Built: Smiths Dock Co., North Shields, in 1908.  (Yard no. 366)

Tonnage: 217.61 gross 82.49 net 

Length / breadth / depth (feet):  117.6 / 21.65 / 11.5 

Engine: T.3-cyl. 52 nhp.   Engine and boiler by McColl & Pollack, Sunderland



28 Jan 1908:  Thomas George Hancock, 95 Priory Rd., Milford (32/64)

John Davies Harries, Hamilton Tce., Milford (32/64)

Managing owner: T.G. Hancock.


Landed at Milford: 9 Feb - 22 Sep 1908


Thomas Salter cert. 5349, age 30, born Exeter, residing 5 Vicarage St., Pill, Milford; signed on 23 Jan, 11 Jul 1908


Manaos (since 1939 as Manaus) is the capital city of the state of Amazonas in northern Brazil. [Wikipedia.]

29 Sep 1908: Wrecked on Clohane Is., SW coast of Ireland. [See story below.]

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 16 Oct 1908

 Accidents and Incidents:

From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 12th February 1908:


    The steam trawler "Manaos" arrived in dock on Sunday morning for the first time, with a good cargo of fish.  She was recently turned out from the well known yard of Smith's Dock Trust Limited, South Shields, and proceeded straight from the yard to the fishing grounds.  The owners are Messrs. T. G. Hancock and J. D. Harries, and she is in command of Captain Tom Salter.  The "Manaos" is a neatly designed boat, and needless to say is equipped with all modern facilities.  Her maiden trip raised £219.



Statement made by Skipper Thomas Salter:


We left the port of Milford Haven to fish off the coast of Ireland, our usual fishing grounds. This was on the 23rd September 1908.  After we had completed our fishing trip and was returning back home to Milford, the trawler struck an unknown rock and sank.  The crew were all saved except the Mate.  This was on the 29th September 1908.


From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 7th October 1908:

    The crew of the steam trawler "Manaos" which went ashore on Clohane Island, off Mizzen Head, County Cork, on the 29th, inst. reached Milford on Saturday. The only one missing of the crew of nine, is the mate, Charles McKenna, whose loss remains a mystery, and is greatly regretted by his mates. The survivors all speak in the very highest terms of the heroism of the skipper, and had it not been for his bravery and resourcefulness it is probably not one would have survived.

    Interviewed by our representative, the men told a tale of some hardship. Captain Salter is too modest a man to tell his own story, but as far as it can be gleaned, it appears soon after darkness, and in thick fog, when the "Manaos" struck, the missing mate was at the wheel, and the deck hand was with him, the rest of the crew being below at tea. McKenna had only just begun his watch, and was given his course by Captain Salter, who set it by the Bull Point Lighthouse, and then went below. In a few minutes there was a crash, and the mate ran below and called all hands on deck. That was the last seen of him.

    The skipper believed what had happened was a collision, and he lit a flare by which he saw the vessel was on the rocks. The water was breaking over the vessel, and James Moloney, the second hand, says he had a narrow escape of being washed overboard. It was impossible to reach the rocks by anything that could be pushed off from the ship, and Captain Salter, as the best swimmer, volunteered to take the risk. He took a running leap, a distance of perhaps 16 feet, and by good luck found a footing on the rocks. A line was thrown and made fast, and the men were hauled ashore. It was then that they found that the mate was missing, and a search was made for him in vain.

    Curiously enough, the "Manaos" had gone ashore at the same spot, and was resting on the bones of the "Ribble", of Fleetwood, lost 2 years ago, and when the crew climbed some distance up the rocks they found her fish-boards, and sheltered under them till daylight. They then found a hut and waited there until the men employed in building a fog signal station on the island came to work. Mr Ford, the foreman, was most kind, and sent about five miles to the mainland for some whisky for the men, and gave them dry clothing and food, for they were perishing almost with cold and exposure. They received every attention later on at the hands of the authorities.

    James Moloney, the second hand, who narrowly escaped the mate's fate, said when the skipper saw the position he said, "Now my lads, the ship has gone, but I'll try and save you."

The roar of the water on the rocks and the dash of water on board and the darkness and fog were confusing, but the skipper shouted to them to stick together, and he lit another flare. More than a boat's length away lay the rocks, and after vainly trying to bridge them the skipper leaped the chasm and saved his crew.

"I am sure," added Moloney, "we all owe our lives to his coolness and daring."  The  boatswain, Dan Nicholls, a man of few words, agreed. Moloney went on to tell how, led by the captain, in his bare feet - for he had taken off his shoes before leaping - they scrambled up rocks where a false slip would have meant death. Midway he halted them until daylight, when they found the hut and assistance.

    The "Manaos" left Milford on Wednesday, the 23rd ult., and fished off the Blaskets until Tuesday. She was returning to Milford with fifty kits of fish, having done very well. The owners are Messrs T. G. Hancock and J. D. Harries, of Milford Haven, and she was launched only last January by the Smith Dock Shipbuilding Company, Shields, and was one of the finest trawlers out of the port of Milford.


From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 13th November 1908:





        A Board of Trade inquiry was opened at the Fishermen's Institute, Milford Haven, on Wednesday, to the wreck of the steam trawler "Manaos," belonging to Mr. John Davies Harries, and Mr. Thomas George Hancock, which was wrecked off the coast of Ireland on the 29th September last. Dr. Griffith and Mr. C. T. Blethyn sat on the Bench, the nautical assessors being Captain Jenkin Thomas and Mr. J. L. Leftwich. Mr. T. H. Doughty, of Lowestoft, was the Fishery Assessor. Mr. W. T. S. Tombs (instructed by Capt. A. J. Rust, of the Port of Hull Fishermen's Society), appeared for the skipper, Thomas Salter.

        Mr. Strick said that the '"Manaos" was a vessel registered at Milford, and was practically a new vessel. She had one boat and two compassess, one in the roof of the wheel-house and the ather on the bridge. The vessel left Milford Haven on the 23rd of September last with a crew of nine hands bound for the West Coast of Ireland, her draft of water at that time being seven ft. for'ard and 14 feet aft. She arrived at the fishing grounds on the 25th of September, and fishing operations were carried out until 9 a.m. on the 29th September, on that day the vessel was got under weigh for Milford. At 3 o'clock on the 29th the Skellings lighthouse was bearing N.N.E. There was a fresh S.S.W. breeze, and a rough sea. At 5.30 the Bull lighthouse was bearing N.N.E., and the distance from the ship to the lighthouse was about three miles. The patent log registered 74. At that time the weather was clear, and the course steered was S.E. by S. After giving the course to the second mate the skipper went below, where he remained until 7 p.m. When he came up at that time the weather was thick, and he thereupon ordered the engines to be put at half-speed. He then went below, leaving the second hand in charge. At 7.50 p.m. the vessel struck a rock a short distance to the westward of Mizzen Head. The vessel appeared to be sinking. and the skipper gave instructions for the crew to go ashore. Later it was found that the mate was missing. A search was made throughout the vessel but without success. The skipper put a line round his waist and successfully jumped on to the rock. A long plank was placed from the vessel and five of the crew got ashore over the plank. The plank was then washed away, and the remaining two hands were got ashore by being pulled through the water. There were some men at work on the island in connection with the erection of a fog signal station, and they gave food and clothes to the shipwrecked sailors. The vessel became a total wreck. Mr. Strick concluded by saying that if the courses had been made good the vessel ought to have cleared the Mizzen Head by about five miles and the question for the court to consider was, how the vessel got into the particular position she did, and how she went ashore just to the westward of Mizzen Head.

        Thomas Salter, the skipper, in his evidence, said he held a certificate of competency as skipper. He was appointed skipper of the Manaos last December. The ship came down to Milford in January last. She was built at North Shields by the Smith Dock Coy., Ltd. The witness went up to North Shields to bring her round, he being in charge of her then. There were no representatives of the makers on board at that time. He was in charge of the vessel up to the time she was lost. He could not say how many voyages he had made to the fishing grounds, but it would be between 20 and 30. During that time he did not find anything wrong with the vessel. She always answered her helm well. There was nothing deficient with the engines. The "Manaos" carried one boat and two compasses, one on the roof and the other on the bridge. The compasses were last adjusted on the 23rd April by Mr. Cowley, of Milford Haven. The only chart on board the vessel relating to the Irish fishing grounds was a round Ireland chart. On the last voyage they left Milford on the 23rd September with a crew of nine hands, including himself. The vessel was at that time in good condition, and well equipped. She had four deck pumps, which were all in good condition. The boat was also in good condition. The witness stated that he had been two years in charge of steam trawlers as skipper. He had been to sea 20 years and knew of the locality where the vessel was wrecked very well. They arrived in the fishing grounds 75 miles to N.N.W. of the Bull lighthouse on the 25th September. They passed the Bull a little after eight o'clock that morning. Upon arriving on the fishing ground they examined the depth, set the patent log, and took every precaution. They continued to fish until the 29th September and at 9 o'clock that morning they got the vessel under weigh for Milford. It was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon when they passed the Skellings, the bearing being N.N.E., and the distance about one-and-a-half miles. The witness was in charge then, the mate being at the wheel. The course was altered to S. by E. At the time the wind was S.S.W., and blowing a six-knot breeze, and the sea was somewhat rough. The vessel was going full speed, and passed the Bull at 5.30 p.m., when the course was altered S.E. by S. After altering the course the witness went below. He went up again at seven o'clock, and found that the weather was thick. He at once ordered half speed. He did not ascertain at that time where they were.

        Mr. Strick: Could you see anything?

        Witness: No, sir.

        Were there any lights ?—No. sir.

        Did you look at the log?—No. sir.

        Who had charge of the wheel?—The mate.

        He is the man who has been lost?—Yes, sir.

        What do you mean by saying that the weather was thick?—We could not see the length of the ship.

        Did you do anything to ascertain where you were ?—No, sir.

        You took it for granted that he was following the same course ?—Yes. sir; S.E. by S.

        The witness added that the mate's name was Charles McKinnon. He had a mate's certificate. The witness had always found him a reliable man, and he had had no occasion to complain of him. Proceeding, the witness said that although the weather was very thick he did not ascertain the speed the vessel was travelling. He never looked at the log after 5.30 p.m. They did not see any lights at 7.40, and even then no steps were taken to ascertain the position of the vessel.

        What happened when you took charge at 7.40? — We felt the vessel strike against something. I did not know what it was.

        How long had you gone on before anything happened ?—Only ten minutes.

        What happened?—She struck against something. We struck a flare and I saw rocks.

        Was it a high rock?—On the water's edge.

        Did you find out then that you were fast on the rock?—We found that the ship was ashore.

        What did you do?—We went to chuck the boat out. Then the vessel went on her beam ends, and the boat was smashed to pieces.

        The witness went on to describe the scene which took place after the vessel had struck. All the crew immediately ran for'ard. The witness ordered the mate to try and get the men ashore. That was the last time he saw the mate. He discovered that the vessel was making water both in the fore hold and the engine room. There was no chance of saving her, and the sea was so rough that the men would not venture ashore. Then the witness cried out "Where's Charlie" (meaning the mate), and went in search of the missing man before making an attempt to go ashore. He shouted, but there was no response, and no signs of him anywhere. The witness then jumped from the ship on to the rock. "I thought I would never reach it," he said, "but I succeeded."

        What distance did you jump?—I jumped sixteen feet.

        Mr. J. A. Evans (assistant magistrates' clerk): The record jump is 24 feet.

        Proceeding, the skipper said that five of the men got ashore, leaving two hands behind. These were pulled ashore by means of a rope. The water was quite over the rock, and the men re- mained there until daylight, when they climbed the cliff. He found they were on a deserted island called Clohane. Afterwards they visited the scene of the disaster and discovered the vessel a total wreck, but the unfortunate mate was never seen again.

        Albert Evans, deck hand on the "Manaos", said that on the day of the wreck he went on watch about 2.10 p.m. The mate and the skipper was with him in the wheelhouse up to about 7.40 p.m. When they were off the Bull there was a bit of a breeze and a little swell. It was clear. When the vessel struck there was a dense fog.

        Replying to Mr. Tombs, the witness said that he had only been to sea twice before he became employed on the "Manaos."

        Mr. Tombs: It was the skipper who saved you all ?

        Witness: Yes, sir.

        In your opinion nothing more could have been done to look for the mate than was done by the skipper?-No. sir.

        In reply to Captain Thomas, the witness said that on this occasion the mate was steering.

        Similar evidence was given by the other hands and the inquiry was adjourned until Thursday.

        The second day's inquiry into the loss of the steam trawler "Manaos" which went ashore off the Irish coast, when one member of the crew was drowned, was opened on Thursday, at Milford Haven.

        Evidence was given by the chief-engineer, Charles Hitchings, and James Mahoney, second engineer, who corroborated the captain's evidence, and, with the other members of the crew, declared that they owed their lives to the skipper's bravery and resource. The Committee adjourned until to-day (Friday) when judgment will be given.


From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 20th November 1908:


         In giving their judgment on Friday, the assessors found that the two compasses carried by the "Manaos" were in good order and sufficient for the safe navigation of the vessel; that the skipper did not ascertain the deviation of the compasses from time to time; that the ship was supplied with proper and sufficient charts; that the master did not ascertain the position of the vessel after the Skellings at 3 p.m. on the 29th Sept., but merely assumed the position, and that a safe and proper course was steered thereafter; that the master did not ascertain the position off the Bull rock after 5 o'clock, but assumed the bearing to be N.N.E.; that proper measures were not taken on the 29th September to verify the position of the vessel, a safe and proper course was not steered, and due and proper allowances were not made for wind, tide, and current; that with regard to the state of the weather at 5.30 the vessel was navigated at too great a rate of speed, the lead was not used when it should have been used; that having regard to the weather a good and proper look-out was not kept in the wheel-house. In conclusion, the court held  the skipper responsible for not ascertaining the position of the vessel by means of the lead. The evidence before the court afforded no explanation of the manner in which the second hand lost his life. The vessel was not navigated with proper and seamanlike care, and its loss was caused by the wrongful act and default of the skipper, who, however, was not to blame for the loss of life, and, in consideration of his brave and successful effort to save the crew, the court suspended his certificate for three months only.

        Dr. Griffith, after having read the decision of the assessors, in which the court concurred, said: "I cannot help congratulating the skipper upon the prompt measures he took, and for the gallantry he showed in saving the lives of the crew. The opinion of the court is that the whole of the crew would have been lost had it not been for the brave action of the skipper. He did everything a man could possibly do to save the lives of his crew."

        Mr. Strick associated himself with Dr Griffith's Remarks. The men, he said, owed their lives to the skipper's bravery. The court recommended the skipper for a mate's certificate.


From B.T. and R. Larn (2002):   Shipwreck Index of Ireland 


MANAOS        29/09/1908

Co.Cork, Mizen Head, SW point, Clohane Island    51.26.55N 09.49.15W.


 Voyage: Milford Haven - Fishing grounds


Drove ashore in fog, and became wedged under the cliff in such a position that all the crew were able to scramble ashore onto a ledge except for Charles McKenna, the ship's mate, who fell into the sea and drowned.  Workmen building a new fog station on Mizzen Head were able to rescue the other eight crew.

[See also ]


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