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And the mother knelt down, and the half-spoken prayer
That she offered to God in her agony wild
Was, "Father, have mercy, look down on .my child!"
She flew to her husband, she; clung to his side- r
Oh, there was her refOgewhate'er might betide. ""
"Fire!" "Fire!" It'Vas- raging above and'below ' " z
And the cheeks of the sailors grew pale'at the sight, ' s-'i ,
And their eyes glistened :wlld, in the glare of the light " '' 7V
'Twas vahr-o'er the rava&e tfie waters to drin: ' & ' '
The pitiless'flame was the lord of the. ship,
And the smoke in thick' wreaths mounted higher and higher.
"0 God, it is'fearful to perisk by fire." ' - .. .f
Alone wjth destruction, alone on'the jsea;
"Great 'Father of mercy, our hope,is in Thee.'
ARE OCEAN DISASTERS DUE TO UNSKILLED
CREWS, THERESULT OF LOW WAGES?
" ' - BY GEORGE C. BODINE, , , .
Secretary-AtlanticCoast Seamen's Union'
v Early reports of the Volturno dis
aster indicate that the crew was
largely responsible for the loss of life
incident to manning the Jifeboats.
And possibly, too, for the failure to
discover and put out the fire in time.
This is not surprising to anyone
familiar with'the character of trans
Atlantic geamen in general and the
conditions that often make them un
defendable in emergencies.
Most Atlantic liners are manned
not by the best seamen, but to a large
extent by the riff-raff of the sea. The
pay and ( living conditions are not,
such as1 tp .invite andeep good sail
ors. It is also too easy for untrained
men to get jobs as "able seamen."
And in spite of the lesson of the
Titanic and other disasters, the men,
such as they are, seldom receive thor
Moreover, the liners do not cany
enough sailors. The Grew is com
posed of a few real seamen, supple
mented by waiters, flunkies, machin
J 'ists, firemen, etc.
It is 9. fact that on the ordinary
liner a captain counts himself lucky
if he can muster two able seamen to
a lifeboat. The rest of the six to
twelve men needed to a Jifeboat are
waiters, etc., who often don't know
. how to lower a boat, and seldom are
skillful enough to handle an oar.'
There are drills, of course, butihey
consist usually In merely lowering
the boats, without rowing, and often
without even touching the water. J.
The pay has been raised somewhat
through the efforts 'of 'the British
Seamen's Union, but the pest pay f br
a sailor is yet only $30 a month. How
can a man maintjain,a family ashore
on that amLhowucan-yoii get good
men for Buch wages?
The, Wilson bill,' now pending in
Congress,laImsfco improve the serv
ice 1 by jequiring,,eacb.. sailor to pass
an'examlnjiiion by the-department of
commerce, o? prove "three years' ac
tual experience' at sea or on the great
lakes. That would shut out'the un
trained men' and raise wages.
The bill includes many other re
forms intended to safeguard the
rights of seamen, and thus to raise
their efficiency and character.
In proportion as you get a better
class of sailors, you will see fewer
Volturno tragedies, resulting from in
effective or demoralized crews.
, WELL FIXED-
"Has she any visible means of sup
port? "Has she! Say, did you ever
see her in one of those slit skirts?"