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Sabotage at sea – 1858

Allan Line Royal Mail Steamers c 1890 Heritage Centre Cove Wikimedia Commons

Allan Line Royal Mail Steamers c 1890
Heritage Centre Cove
Wikimedia Commons

The Star 13th september 1858
IRELAND. (abridged)
(From the Times Correspondent.)
Dublin, Saturday, 22nd June.
The fine steamer Indian Empire, which was to leave Galway on the 18th June, with the first mails from Ireland to the United States, was run hard ashore near St. Margaret’s Rocks by the pilot who had charge of her from Southampton. Fortunately, however, the spot where she struck was not dangerous, and the ship eventually floated off and proceeded to Galway, having sustained but trifling damage. The damage will not impair or otherwise prevent her from sailing on her appointed date.
The authorities in Galway, on learning the particulars of the vessel’s going ashore, caused the pilot to be arrested, and after undergoing a preliminary investigation, he was committed to prison on a charge of having wilfully and knowingly run the Indian Empire on a hidden rock.
The somewhat sinister accident which befell the steamship on her first entrance into Galway Bay has created quite a sensation here, and the result of the trial of the two pilots is looked for with no ordinary anxiety. A Dublin journal (The Express) thus refers to the disaster : ” It remains for a jury to decide whether they were guilty or not of the crime of intending to destroy the steamer. It seems to be the general opinion in Galway that the facts cannot be accounted for except on the presumption of their guilt.”
This, however, should be left to the decision of a jury of their countrymen. If they should be found guilty, the crime is one of the foulest on record. But if they are guilty, others are guilty too. If they did run the steamer on the’ rock intentionally, they were the agents of a diabolical conspiracy, which should be traced out. If the chief criminals can be detected, no punishment would be too severe for them. Suspicion points to Liverpool as the seat of the conspiracy. The motives assigned are commercial jealousy.

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