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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 897127

ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS R 1920

L

LONDOX:

PRINTED BY PEWTRESS & Co.,

Steam Printing Works, 28, LITTLE QUEEN STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, W.C.

THE

NAUTICAL MAGAZINE

FIFTY-THIRD YEAR.

VOLUME LIII.-N0. I.

JANUARY, 188 4.

THE STABILITY OF MERCHANT SHIPS.

QURING the last year the attention of those interested

in shipping has been drawn in a marked degree to the question of the stability of merchant ships. In

July last, in the launching of a vessel on the Clyde, a great disaster occurred which was made the subject of a searching investigation conducted by an eminent naval architect, and in September an enquiry was held by the Wreck Commissioner into a case of partial capsize and sinking in harbour of one of the largest merchant steamers afloat. The Daphne enquiry served to bring home to shipbuilders the importance of attention to precautions which had of late somewhat fallen into disuse, and was made the occasion of probably the first public statement in scientific language of a branch of the theory of the stability of floating bodies. The second enquiry certainly did not bring out anything new, and indeed there appeared no reason arising from the merits of the question why any great amount of consideration should have been given to the question of the ship's stability ; but nevertheless the Austral like the Daphne was made to illustrate a lesson on the importance of scientific knowledge and

VOL. LIII.

enquiry, and the Wreck Commissioner vied with the most distinguished naval architect of the day in enforcing the value and necessity of a more scientific treatment of the question of the stability of merchant ships in the future, than has obtained in the past.

The question of the stability of ships of war has received very much more attention than that of merchant ships, and while it may be said that this has been rendered the more necessary on account of the rapid succession of novel types of war ship, it is at the same time more practicable in consequence of the greater certainty of the conditions involved. Merchant ships do not differ from each other so much as war ships do; changes in design in the former are made by slow and easy steps, and thus any advance in the wrong direction is the more likely to be corrected by experience before it has gone very far. On the other hand the problem of the stability of a merchant ship is indefinite, whereas in the war ship it is well defined. The latter has her weights disposed at the will of her designer and although changes are caused by consumption of coal, or may be brought about in action by the perforation of compartments and admission of water to them, such changes can be accurately estimated and provision made to meet their consequences. In a merchant ship, on the other hand, varying weights are a very large part of the account, and their disposition is beyond the control not merely of the designer, but even of the owners or master. The stevedore proceeds upon simple methods, the result of his own experience, and their successful application in each case depends upon his individual knowledge and judgment. The mate has his time fully occupied while the vessel is loading in keeping tally of the cargo, or in receiving and checking the amount of stores, and the master of the ship too often is anywhere but on board the ship supervising the stowage of the cargo. Meanwhile merchant ships are multiplying, new types are coming into existence and old types are being transformed, the result being that vessels of most diverse forms, proportions, and qualities exist, in which rule of thumb stowage is to say the least very much less certain to secure good results than if the work to be done were of a more uniform character. No wonder then

enquiry, and the Wreck Commissioner vied with the most distinguished naval architect of the day in enforcing the value and necessity of a more scientific treatment of the question of the stability of merchant ships in the future, than has obtained in the past.

The question of the stability of ships of war has received very much more attention than that of merchant ships, and while it may be said that this has been rendered the more necessary on account of the rapid succession of novel types of war ship, it is at the same time more practicable in consequence of the greater certainty of the conditions involved. Merchant ships do not differ from each other so much as war ships do; changes in design in the former are made by slow and easy steps, and thus any advance in the wrong direction is the more likely to be corrected by experience before it has gone very far. On the other hand the problem of the stability of a merchant ship is indefinite, whereas in the war ship it is well defined. The latter has her weights disposed at the will of her designer and although changes are caused by consumption of coal, or may be brought about in action by the perforation of compartments and admission of water to them, such changes can be accurately estimated and provision made to meet their

consequences. In a merchant ship, on the other hand, varying weights are a very large part of the account, and their disposition is beyond the control not merely of the designer, but even of the owners or master. The stevedore proceeds upon simple methods, the result of his own experience, and their successful application in each case depends upon his individual knowledge and judgment. The mate has his time fully occupied while the vessel is loading in keeping tally of the cargo, or in receiving and checking the amount of stores, and the master of the ship too often is anywhere but on board the ship supervising the stowage of the cargo. Meanwhile merchant ships are multiplying, new types are coming into existence and old types are being transformed, the result being that vessels of most diverse forms, proportions, and qualities exist, in which rule of thumb stowage is to say the least very much less certain to secure good results than if the work to be done were of a more uniform character. No wonder then

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