Shonas Wrecks - SS Abeona

This page is an entry in Shonas Wreck Guide.


Type: iron single screw steamer
Builders: 1879, Sir Raylton Dixon & Co. Ltd., Middlesbrough, England
Launched: 1880
Dim: 51.81 x 7.82 x 4.19 (170 feet long, 25.8 foot beam and holds 13.9 feet deep; Raised Quarter Deck 110 feet; Forecastle 23 feet )
Tonnage: 573 tons gross, 457 under deck and 365 net
Propulsion: Screw.
Boilers: 1.
Engine: Compound engine with 2 inverted cylinders of 23 1/2 & 42 inches diameter respectively; stroke 30 inches; operating at 80 p.s.i.; 70 horsepower.
Machinery: Machinery by Blair & Co Ltd, Stockon-on-Tees.
Layout: 1 deck; 2 tiers of beams; 4 cemented bulkheads; double bottom 73 feet
Port of Registry: Middlesborough.
Flag: Kingdom.
Owners: E. Harris & Co, Middlesborough
crew: 14.
Captain: Lindblad, A.
Voyage: Rotterdam to Sunderland.
Cargo: Ballast.

Sunk on the 10th September 1883 following a collision with the SS BERYL, of Dundee; REFERENCES
BOT Wk Rtn 1883 Appx Pts I-IV p129; LR 1882-3 No 29(A)

In the case of The Beryl, which was a collision in the North sea between the steamship Abeona and the [153 U.S. 130, 149] steamship Beryl, the two vessels were approaching each other at right angles, the Beryl being upon the starboard side of the Abeona. The Abeona admitted that the Beryl kept her course, but claimed that she kept it too long, directly the contrary of the claim made by the Britannia in this case. The Beryl eased her engines from a quarter to half a mile distant from the Abeona. It was held by the admiralty court (9 Prob. Div. 4) that, although the obligation to keep her course was applicable, yet the Beryl was bound not to disregard the obligation of the other article to stop and reverse, if necessary to avoid a collision, and that both articles were applicable to the case. The admiralty court held that the Beryl did act in time in stopping her engines, but on appeal to the court of appeals the case was reversed (Id. 137, 140, 141, 142, 144), and the Beryl held to be in fault, not for failing to maintain her speed, but for failing to stop and reverse her engines in due time. In delivering the opinion of the court, Brett, M. R., observed: 'It was suggested to us to-day that 'keeping her course' meant keeping her course at the same pace at which she was going before she was called upon to obey this rule. But keeping her course means that she is to keep on the same direction as before; it has nothing to do with the question of speed. ... The Abeona was bound to get out of the way of the Beryl; the moment that rule applied to the Abeona, article 22 applied to the Beryl, namely, to keep her course. ... The Abeona did everything that was wrong; and then the question arises, did the Beryl break any of the rules? She kept her course, and, when she saw that the Abeona was not doing her duty, she whistled. ... Seeing the Abeona was still keeping on, she whistled again, and slackened her speed. The first question upon that is this: Were the circumstances such then that there was risk of collision? The vessels were at a distance of from a quarter to half a mile. At that time the officer of the Beryl slackened his speed.'

 The ships helm
The helm and other items raised from the wreck of the Abeona in 2004

Bowen, L. J., observed: 'It has been suggested that the expression 'keep her course,' used in article 22, refers to the speed of the vessel as well as to the direction of her [153 U.S. 130, 150] head, but this is an untenable argument. In article 18 we find the words 'stop and reverse if necessary,' which obviously are intended to point out that the vessel, when it is necessary, is to do more than simply slacken her speed. It may, however, be a matter of consideration whether 'if necessary' is to be construed as meaning if it is actually necessary, or only if the captain should reasonably think that a necessity has arisen; but, even if we were to take the latter as the construction most favorable to the master of the Beryl, the answer of our assessors to the question put to them, which the master of the rolls has already referred to, puts him clearly in the wrong, and obliges us to hold that the Beryl was also to blame for this collision.'

Fry, L. J., was of the same opinion, and thought that the Beryl should have stopped and reversed earlier than she did.

This case is not only inconsistent with the opinion of the court in the case under consideration, but is absolutely the reverse of it.

Name and date - 'Abeona' '1879'

The "Beryl" was part of the Dundee Gem Line Steam Ship Co.'s fleet of steamers, which regularly transported flax and hemp from the Baltic countries for processing in Dundee's factories. She was built by W. B. Thompson of Dundee, and had a gross tonnage of 1190 and an overall length of 234 feet. Her voyages are recorded in the various issues of the Dundee Yearbook, with regular ports of call including St Petersburg and Riga.

Beryl working cargo
Beryl working cargo

The ship was sold to Greece in 1910, though she was registered in Romania. She was lost in the Great War in 1917.