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Costa Rica Packet

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Costa Rica Packet

Postby shipstamps » Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:28 am

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Built from wood by J Sebire of Guernsey for Le Lacheur & Co, Guernsey.
Tonnage 531 tons gross and net, with an underdeck tonnage of 503 tons. Dim. 162 x 28.6 x 17.7ft.
July 1861 completed.
Guernsey has been a trading center for as long as its people have had boats big enough to carry goods. As the boat builders became ever more sophisticated, the local traders widened their horizons to a quite astonishing extent.
There is a strong connection with the Americas, notably through Captain William Le Lacheur, who is often credited with being the founding father of the Costa Rica coffee trade. To mark our participation in the Pacific 97 exhibition in San Francisco our miniature sheet depicts a symbol of Guernsey’s trade links from long ago: Le Lacheur’s most famous ship, the COSTA RICA PACKET. Like nearly all of Le Lacheur’s ships, this was built in Guernsey by James Sebire.
As the quotation on the sheets shows, the COSTA RICA PACKET was much admired for the quality of her construction. The ship, shown on the stamp, will have put into San Francisco with some cargo to trade since enterprising owners and captains were keen to make the return trip worthwhile.
The main picture shows a boatyard on the south beach at Guernsey’s capital, St Peter Port. At that time the island was fringed with boatyards and today their high-tech successors ply a very similar trade, albeit in large, purpose-built workshops, producing motor cruisers and other leisure craft for clients all over the world.
The COSTA RICA PACKET was used in the trade between U.K. and the Pacific west coast ports and San Francisco.
11 July 1962 she sailed from London for Punta Arenas under command of Capt. James Le Messurier, returned London on 20 July 1863.
1872 Under command of Capt. R.H.Pope she made a voyage from Liverpool to Punta Arenas. 1882 was she sold to G Hemsworth and registered in London.
1883 Ownership passed to John Hemsworth and under this owner she was in 1887 registered in Sydney, Australia. 1888 Was John Tyson, Sydney the owner.
1889 Was she bought for £8930 by a syndicate of Sydney citizens, and registered as owned by Messrs. Burns Philip & Co.
She was fitted out for whaling, and Capt. John Bolton Carpenter was appointed master, he was an American by birth, and he learned whaling on American whaleships from the Pacific to the Antarctic waters. In 1863 he severed his connection with the States due to the Civil War, and he became a naturalized British subject.
Her first voyage was successful, it was stated that she captured whales to the value of £15.000 and the whalebone was sold for £2.600 a ton.
1891 She sailed out for her second whaling voyage, at that time she was fitted out with six boats that could be lowered to pursue whales. But the second voyage fate was not so good. On her first whaling voyage the COSTA RICA PACKET did find a waterlogged and derelict proa off the coast of the Dutch East Indies island Boeroe (Buru). In the proa there were thirteen cases of spirits and a tin of kerosene, which were taken on board, the proa was abandoned.
When on the second voyage the ship made a call at Ternate (Dutch East Indies) for provision and a doctor nobody on board suspected any trouble.
02 November 1891 when Capt Carpenter got onshore he was arrested and taken away to Macassar, 1000 miles from the COSTA RICA PACKET. Despite his protest and willing to pay a bond of £8.000 he was kept arrested. He was badly treated, incarcerated with a sick native soldier. And nobody told him why he was arrested till some days afterwards when he appeared before the magistrate. Later he heard that he would be arraigned on a charge of piracy and theft. He was not allowed to communicate with his officers of his ship or anyone else, like the British consul at Batavia.
A British merchant of Maccassar heard of the case, and forwarded it to the British Consul at Batavia. At least with the help of the Consul he was released on 29 November without any apology or explanation. Not even his return to the COSTA RICA PACKET was arranged for him.
In the meantime the whaling season for the Moluccas had commenced, but without a Captain the COSTA RICA PACKET stayed in Ternate, also three officers were taken from board to give evidence.
The ships rigs and sails got rotten in de sun by the damp tropical atmosphere. The crew did have problems with malaria and the morale disappeared. When Capt. Carpenter arrived on board his ship, she was in a bad state and most of the crew ill, he himself was unfit for a whaling voyage, that he sailed the ship to Singapore where she was sold for £1.250.
When news reached Sydney of the arrest of a captain of a vessel registered in Sydney, the Government of New South Wales could not permit this action by a foreign country; it was an insult to the British flag. The British Government was called to the matter and claim for loss incurred by the owners was handed over to the Dutch Government. After many years it was agreed by the two Governments to submit the matter to an arbitrator, who was nominated by Russia.
1897 The Netherlands had to pay an indemnity of £11.082 7sh 6p., which was paid on 3 March 1897 by the Dutch Government to the British Government.
1893 The Costa Rica Packet was sold to E. Avery, Freemantle.
1894 Sold to Bana Ana Sáhool Hamed, no further information on her fate.

Auke Palmhof

Source: leaflet of Guernsey Post. The ships of Burns, Philp and Company by Ronald Parsons. Whalemen Adventures by William John Dakin.
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