Barque Inga     December 1866

Wyre towing Lifeboat to Barque IngaThe Wyre steamer, Captain Swarbrick, took her in tow through the  Neckings, and after some time, discovered the dismasted vessel two miles further beyond Danger Patch than had been represented.  The lifeboat was towed to windward of the wreck, and then cast off, the crew using their oars to get to the side of the vessel.  It proved to be the Inga, of Kragona, a Norwegian barque, Captain Larsen, with a crew of 12 men all told, from Miramichi, with a cargo of timber, for Messrs. Sumner and Co., Fleetwood.  The masts and rigging had been cut away and she was rolling fearfully in the trough of the sea with two anchors down, one with 75 fathoms chain, and the other with 45 fathoms chain, in 22 fathoms water.  It appears that Captain Larsen took a Liverpool pilot on board off Point Lynas two days previously, and was proceeding safely on his course when caught by the gale on Thursday night; having 22 fathoms water the pilot cast anchor, in hopes that the vessel might hold until the weather moderated.  About three o’ clock on Friday morning, fears began to be entertained that she would not hold her ground, the pilot therefore ordered the masts to be cut away; this was done with the main and mizzen masts.  Subsequently they cut away the remaining mast; but, unfortunately, at the moment when it fell, the vessel plunged to leeward, which laid the mast on the deck, with on yard projecting over the vessel’s side from twelve to twenty feet.  There was not room on the lee side to take off the crew either fore or aft of the projecting yard, whilst every roll of the vessel threatened to plunge the yard upon the lifeboat to annihilate her and her brave crew.  The crew of the lifeboat, however, pulled under the unlucky yard, and securing a rope forward, with great difficulty they commenced the rescue of the ship’s crew.  Several dropped into the boat from the projecting yard, when an enormous wave lifted the boat against the yard, pressing her far down into the water.  This occurred four times before the boat got clear of the wreck.  On one of these occasions four oars were broken, and all the rowlocks on the lee side, and the boat was also partially stove.  The remainder of the crew of the Inga dropped into the lifeboat forward of the yard, the last man to leave being the cook, who brought with him the captains’s portmanteau.  As no one was left on board the Inga to cast off the rope by which the lifeboat was secured, it had to be cut, and as the crew were prevented using their oars by the destruction of oars and rowlocks, the lug, the only sail on board the lifeboat, was hoisted, and in two hours the crew of the unfortunate vessel were landed on the gridiron, at Fleetwood.  This was at 2.40 on Friday afternoon.  The lifeboat, although having in her twenty-six persons on her return voyage and lying deep in the water, is spoken of in the highest terms as a very clean and comfortable boat under canvas in bad weather.

tug WyreAfter the steam-tug Wyre cast off the lifeboat, Captain Swarbrick proceeded towards the N.W. in search of a vessel which had been telegraphed as in a dangerous position off Blackpool. In consequence of the heavy rain which fell at intervals it was some time before he descried her, but on doing so he made towards her, and found her to be the Cyrene, Captain Muirhead bound for Glasson Dock with a cargo of timber. At the time the Wyre fell in with her, the crew were busily engaged in casting the deck-load overboard. Captain Swarbrick, finding it impossible to board the vessel or take her in tow, with the sea then running, ordered Captain Muirhead to follow the Wyre, which she did, and was brought to safe anchorage at the foot of the Wyre, where a pilot, Thomas Hornby was put on board. The Wyre then went to a brig, the Nordstern, and by means of the punt, placed John Hesketh, the pilot, on board. The Wyre had previously had the Nordstern in tow, but owing to the severity of the gale, had parted the towrope, and pulled out all the head-gear of the Nordstern. The brig was conducted to safe anchorage, above the N.W. buoy, where she was only able to put out 75 fathoms chain and one anchor, having lost a portion of chain at an early period. As will be seen from our shipping list, the Nordstern came into Fleetwood on Sunday, and was towed to Liverpool on Monday. Whilst engaged in these services, the Wyre, when in the Race of Lune, shipped a heavy sea, which fell upon the bulwarks with great violence, washing all the ropes off the seats, and the anchor off the rail.

On Saturday morning at 6.30, the Wyre, having the lifeboat in tow, went out to the Inga, taking her own crew on board. On arriving at the vessel, it was found that the chain of both anchors were so fouled with the rigging, and twisted round each other, that they could not be purchased, and they were therefore both slipped. Captain Swarbrick then took the Inga in tow, and at 12.10 noon berthed her alongside the pier, and at 12.15 proceeded to tow in the barque Favourite, then entering the harbour under canvas. On the 8th (Saturday), the Wyre towed the fishing boat Nimble (noticed elsewhere), the crew of which had been disabled when off Piel on Friday morning , and one of whom had died on the passage from Barrow that morning. We understand that no charge will be made by the owners of the Wyre for the service rendered to the Nimble under these circumstances. On the 9th, the Wyre towed the Jessie Raymond to Glasson Dock, and on the 10th brought in the Diana, and then took out the Mary and May and Richard Warbrick to Barrow. On the 11th she took the Corella to Glasson Dock. During this period the Wyre also performed service as tender to the Fleetwood and Belfast Mail Steamers. Captain Swarbrick speaks in the highest terms of the conduct of his crew on board the Wyre, and of the pilots,especially during the very difficult and trying circumstances in which all were placed on Friday, when, by their individual and united efforts they rendered invaluable assistance to vessels which were placed in such great peril.

Tug Wyre paintingThe Barque Inga was registered in Kragona, a port in Norway about 50 miles South West of Oslo.  In recognition of the service rendered by the tug Wyre, the grateful Norwegian owners of the Inga presented a pastel drawing to Captain William Swarbrick. For many years this picture hung in the old wooden Fleetwood Lifeboat House, and is now re-located to the present Lifeboat station building. The picture has typical Victorian exaggeration in depicting the tug Wyre towing the Fleetwood Lifeboat to the rescue, with the hull of the Inga visible in the background in the upper left hand side of the picture..

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