The Gundagai Times Friday Sep 11, 1914


More like a chapter from a sensational novel than an incident in real life are the adventures of the British tramp steamer Strathspey, which arrived at New York after a remarkable voyage of 130 days from Glasgow to the Far East, via the Cape of Good Hope, and back to New York by way of the Suez Canal. Of her complement of 38 officers and men, only eight are whites, the remainder being Chinese, Arabs, and Lascars, says the Central News in an account of the voyage.  Off Port Natal, a Chinese stoker was killed by falling into the hold, and for three days afterward, the steamer merely drifted, the other stokers refusing to work on the ground that the ghost of the dead man was prowling about the stokehold. In the Canton River, one of the Chinese coolies working the cargo was knocked on the head by a heavy chain and instantly killed. Off Malta, the chief engineer, James McMurry, jumped overboard, and nothing was seen of him again, although a prolonged search was made.

But the most remarkable adventure of the voyage occurred off the coast of Borneo. According to statements made to the New York newspaper reporters, Mohammed Singh, an Arab sailor, fell overboard from one of the boats he was cleaning. Singh, a powerful swimmer, was nearing the lifeboat when a commotion arose in his wake, and the crew of the boat saw a great green sea serpent as If about to seize the Arab sailor in its capacious jaws. Singh heard the noise, and felt the hot blast from the monster's lungs on the back of his bronze neck. He turned half round, and then with a cry of "Allah Kerim", he made a tremendous effort to reach the boat before the sea serpent could seize him.

The Arab sailors on the boat bent their backs double on the oars and gave a mighty pull, which enabled Singh to be hauled aboard breathless just as the serpent opened its mouth to grab him. Finding he was out of reach, the monster bit the rudder off the boat in its rage. Chowder Loll, who was steering at the time, fell in a faint from fright.  The boat was steered back alongside the steamer with one of the oars over the stern.  The sea serpent evidently had been scared off, for he was seen in the distance steering due east at the rate of 50 knots an hour.

After the Strathspey left Port Said on June 18 for New York it was noticed that James McMurry, who was over 60 years old, was very melancholy, and walked about the decks a good deal. He was very fond of the parrot, and after talking to him one morning when the steamer was off Malta he fell overboard. The parrot. Toko, shrieked "Eight bells" until the chief officer heard him and saw- the chief engineer's coat and vest and cap by the rail. Then he realized what had happened. Captain Jones had the ship stopped and went back 14 miles, but could not see anything of the old man. The Strathspey Is a steel screw steamer of 4432 tons, built by the Grangemouth and Greenock Dockyard Company in 1906, and owned by the Strathspey S.S. Company Ltd.

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