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OVERCROWDING THE RHOS TREVOR. BOARD OF TRADE PROSECUTION 1 AT CONWAY. REMARKABLE EVIDENCE. At Conway Police Court on Monday, before Mr Henry Kneeshaw and other magistrates, Samuel Stuart, captain of the o ) d "Rhos Trevor" pleasure steamer, owned by the Mersey Trading Company, was charged with overloading his steamer on August 6th last. The captain's address was given as 45, Norfolk Road, Kentish Town, London, N.W. Mr Charles A. Jones, of Carnarvon, appeared to prose- cute for the Board of Trade, and Mr R. S. Chamberlain, Llandudno, defended. Mr Charles A. Jones said the case was brought under section 283 of the Mer- chant Shipping Act, 1894. The steamer was a small passenger boat which, he understood, made trips for the benefit of visitors and others in the neighbourhood of Rhos-on-Sea, Colwyn Bay, and Llan- dudno. On the day in question, August 6th, there was a trip advertised from Rhos Pier to the Menai Straits. The vessel was to start from Rhos Pier, take up passengers at Llandudno, and proceed to the Straits. At Rhos she took on board 327 and at Llandudno 453, or rather he should say that those were the numbers who afterwards disembarked at these places. The total number she was authorised to carry was 463. The police received an intimation that the vessel was overcrowded, and accordingly they pro- ceeded to the Llandudno pierhead and counted the people as they came off, after- wards proceeding by the boat to Rhos and counting those who left her there. It would be seen that she had 317 on board more, than her complement, and had any- thing gone wrong the loss of life would have been something too awful to con- template, because passenger vessels were only provided with lifeboats and lifebelts for the number that the vessel was licensed to carry. The Act of 1894 was intended to prevent overcrowding on such vessels, and the same section gave the master power to prevent it and to punish any per- sons who tried to force themselves on board against the captain's orders. More- over, the gangways were such that only one person could go on board at a, time, .q e, and the captain might have removed the gangway without difficulty when he found that he had his proper number on board. HUDDLED TOGETHER. LIKE! SHEEP Albert E. Dawson, 73, Station Road, King's Heath, Birmingham, who said he was a district councillor for that neigh- bourhood, said that on August 7th he was staying at Oolwyn Bay as an officer of the Church Lads' Brigade, who were in camp there. On that day the Rhos Trevor advertised a "Special long trip to the Menai Straits," and he accompanied a party of 60 to 70 of the lads for the trip. Their average age would be 16, so that they were kg lads—practically adults. For those he booked he paid 9cl. each, and 6d. for the saloon deck. There was no rush when they embarked, and no diffi- culty in controlling the people going on 1-1 board. It appeared to him that the steamer was full when it left Rhos, and at Llandudno many more passengers board- ed her. There was, again, at Llandudno no rush. The passengers embarked in the usual way across the- gangways. The witness stated that the people were hud- dled together like sheep, and it was im- possible to sit down. STEAMER LIKE A PIG STYE. Inspector Thomas Owen, Llandudno, said that the steamer was expected back at Llandudno at 6 p.m., and about twentv minutes before that hour he saw the Mer- sey Trading Company's agent at the pier- head, Mr Codman, and and told him that he had had a. complaint from a. gentleman that the steamer was packed, and that, in his opinion there were scores too many on board. "I told Mr Codman," con- tinued the Inspector, "that Sergeant Wil- liams and I meant to count the number disembarking, and that he could do the same if he thought fit. I asked-the pier- master not to put out more than two gangways, so that the sergeant and I might be able to count the passengers cor- rectly. By the gangway that I took 214 disembarked, not counting the- children in arms. I asked permission to go on board the Rhos Trevor, so that we nrght com- P'lete the counting, and Mr Codman said, "Yes. by all means." We left. the steamer first on her arrival, and counted the pas- sengers again there. By the gangway I Wat there 167 disembarked. The stea "er was in a. filthy state, owing to so mar reon-le- having been sick. It was like a pigsty. I never saw a boat in such a st *e 'n my life." S Edward Williams, Llandudno. sair: he took the stern gangway, and 239 disr harked -it Llandudno, including one chj arms and seven or eight small chi' ^n. At Rhos 158 disembarked, in- clu hs baby in arms. He heard Cap- tai, ^u—t remark to Inspector Owen, wh 1, letter spoke to him about the might as well try to stop the Nir ^dls as to try to stop the" pas- ser c^minof on." declared positi^elv, ir- yr- piv Chamberlain, L that not one S'n ^nger boarded the -teamer at El" 'nr Rhos by the gangway they w f- Vng. IT. Jones-Rees, of Colwvn Boo 1-, also counted the passengers le Rhos Trevor at R.hos P:er, ar 1- total 330, including four or fiT QVld young children. %s A. Jones: TI-i at is slightly! in the others. APTAIN'S. STORY. art, giving evidence in Irs o" stated that as soon as +he 51 alongside the Llandudno FO go below, and when he e t. the people were rushing r i found out that he was able at Llandudno to cr,- ;-+(0 s 281 lads of the Church Brigade had booked from Rhos to Llan- dudno at 9d. each. The full fare down the Straits was 2s. 6d. When he return- ed from below there were three gangways out, and the people were rushing on board. There were not sufficient of the pier authority's men to stop them. He did stop them with the aid of Mr Oodman, the agent, and some went ashore. When he got past the Orme's Head the purser came to him and told him that they had got too many. He then said: "Well we cannot help it. If I have taken them away from the pier I will take them on their journey." When he returned to the pier he did not count the passengers, as zn he decided to accept the officer's figures; but he would swear that 50 or 60 went on boa.rd at Llandudno for Rhos. He pre- sumed they were those who had booked to Llandudno, and who had return tickets. Mr Charles A. Jones: Even allowing that you took 50 or 60 from Llandudno to Rhos, you would still be 250 over your quantum. The defendant replied that if the boys had gone ashore as he expected they would do, he would only have been four or five. over his complement. Mr Chamberlain said the captain had told a straightforward tale. He had lc been rushed into this offence against the law, and could not do otherwise than leave himself in the hands of the. Bench. Mr Dawson was recalled, and stated that though he did not intend his figure of the number of Church Lads on the boat to be more than an estimate, he did not think they were anything like 260, and those who were accompanying him certainly booked for the Straits. c THE DECISION OF THE. BENCH. The Chairman said: We think the case is clearly proved, and that it is a, case in which a very serious accident might. have occurred. We should not be doing justice in the case unless we fined Captain Stuart almost as heavily as we can. The full fine we can inflict. is £.20, but we have de- cided to impose a penalty of 215 and costs, the costs to be all the costs that the L icleuk certifies aT payable.



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