REPORT of a Court of Inquiry held at Galle, on the 17th March 1891, to investigate the circumstances attending the loss of the S.S. "CLAN MACKAY," of Glasgow, 1422 tons.
The facts are as follows: The S.S. "Clan Mackay" left her moorings in the Galle Harbour at 7.30 p.m. on the 8th inst., in charge of Mr. Truscott, acting master attendant, and senior pilot of Galle. Immediately the anchor was aweigh, and the ship started ahead, the helm had to be ported to clear a native vessel coming into the harbour, suddenly shewing two flare-lights close to the bows of the "Clan Mackay." Directly the vessel was clear of the native vessel, the engines were put full speed ahead, with the order "Helm hard to starboard." It was then found that the steering gear was jammed, and the engines were thereupon put "full speed astern." Before she could gather sternway, she was on the Belikatuwa Rock, and commenced to fill forward.
The nautical assessor desires to add that in his opinion the pilot acted quite right in going full speed ahead with his helm hard to starboard. Having often been in the Galle Harbour, and having always been moored at the same spot that the "Clan Mackay" was lying, he considers that the pilot could have done nothing better under the circumstances. Had he been placed in the same position, in charge of his own vessel, he would have acted in the same manner, and the steamer would have gone out in safety had the steering gear not jammed.