"The old Cerberus, indeed! She is not as old as most people believe her to be. The idea of calling a vessel of her construction old." This was the way in which one of the courteous seamen appointed to conduct visitors over the vessel replied to an amateur man-of-warsman, who persisted in calling the vessel "old Cerberus." This naturally led one to seek for further information concerning her, and this week we present to our readers a photo engraving of the vessel taken about the time the above remarks were made.
The vessel was built at Jarrow in 1870, the same year in which the two Indian Marine Coast Defence Ships, the Abyssinia and Magdala, were constructed. The three vessels named were all built at different places, but on about the same lines, with the exception of the depth in the case of the Abyssinia, she being a foot lighter in draught than the other two.
The Cerberus is 225 feet long; 45 feet beam, with a mean draught of 15 feet 3 inches. The cost of constructing the hull was £99,331, and the machinery £18,225, or £117,556 in all. The vessel is armour-plated throughout, and her armament consists of four 10-inch 18-ton muzzle-loading rifled guns, four machine guns and two light guns under 15 cwt. Her boilers are capable of supplying steam up to 1370 indicated horse power, while her twin screws can force her through the water at the rate of 9.75 knots per hour. Her coal carrying capacity is 120 tons. She has ample accomodation for over 250 men, and in the event of hostilities would prove a most formidable opponent to an invader.
As the SS Gabo was coming down the river on Friday week to go to sea one of her crew had the misfortune to topple over into the water. Luckily the steam launch of HMVS Cerberus noticed the mishap and rendered immediate assistance.
The turret ship Cerberus left her moorings last Monday morning, and proceeded to the Head's
for target practice under the command of Captain W.H.Panter. On Tuesday the big gun practice took place. Fourteen shots in all were fired, at various distances, the vessel being under way at the time. The firing was very good indeed, six of the shots fired striking the target, and, as the first shot fired carried the target partly away, the
mark was more difficult to hit.
The time was much quicker than on any previous occasion. Nine of the projectiles were recovered from the shore the same afternoon. Wednesday and Thursday were devoted to firing the boat guns and Martini-Henry rifles, the practice in both instances being excellent.
The Cerberus returned to Hobson's Bay late Friday night. About fifteen miles down the Bay the crew beat to night-quarters, and fired twelve rounds of blank ammunition.
Captain Manderville, the new commander of the Cerberus, is allowing no unnecessary delay
to take place in aquainting himself with the peculiarities and capabilities of the turret ship.
This morning she leaves her moorings on a cruise to the Heads, for a shot and shell practice, and general drill, and it is expected that she will remain away for a week or longer.
The new steering gear will also be thoroughly trested, the minor defects which have affected it on a recent trial having been cured, and one or two improvements introduced. These latter will be made a subject of experiment during the cruise.
Should a favourable opportunity occur it is probable that the Cerberus will take a short trip out-side the Heads.
Commodore Hoskins, of the Wolverine, accompanied by Captain Murray, of the Sapphire, paid an official visit to the turret ship Cerberus yesterday morning. They were received by
Captain Manderville and his officers in undress uniform.
The vessel was under steam, and the men were exercised in the turrets, which were set to work, and the movements of loading and so forth gone through. The vessel did not leave her moorings, nor was any actual firing done. After a thorough inspection of the turrets and guns at work, attention was directed to the fire pumps. The taps used for filling the water spaces were turned on and off, and other move-ments executed. The new steam steering gear, recently fitted, was tried, and worked very smoothly.
Everything passed off satisfactorily, and the commodore made a thorough aquaintance with the appoinments of the ship during his visit, which lasted about two hours.
Consequent upon the news recieved from Europe, the Cerberus has been placed upon a war
Captain Manderville has recieved orders from the Chief Secretary to ship 12 additional men, which will bring the crew up to the necessary strength, and other requisitions which the com-mander has made to secure the complete efficency of the vessel have been assented to. A confidential report has been received from Commodore Hoskins regarding the Cerberus, and this has been transmitted to Commander Manderville, and all its recommendations are being acted upon.
The commodore expresses the highest opinion of the value of the Cerberus as a protection for the port if she is properly supplied with men and stores, and the Government have decided to accede to all requests and suggestions. The improvements suggested by the commodore are of a technical character, and it is not advisable to enter into details respecting them. We may mention, however, that he speaks of the new steam-steering apparatus as a success.
Some time ago a fire occured on the hulk Deborah, and was extinguished by the crew of the Cerberus, who displayed much activity on the occasion. The owners, Messrs. McMeckan, Blackwood & Co., wished to reward the men, but Captain Mandeville objected to their receiving any money, as contrary to the rules of the Imperial service. In a second letter the firm enclosed a cheque for £25, and on the matter being referred to the Chief Secretary, he permitted the men to receive it, and suggested that it might be applied to some corporate purpose, such as the band or library fund. The crew have resolved to hand the amount to the Melbourne Hospital, and to nominate Captain Mandeville as a life governor.
The crews of the Cerberus, Nelson & Victoria had a most enjoyable gathering on board the Nelson yesterday afternoon. Permission had been given the men to have their friends on board the frigate for an afternoon's enjoyment, and a ball was arranged for the occasion. The sailors, their wives, and friends were conveyed to the ship in tug steamers from the Ann-street pier, Williamstown. On the spacious main deck of the Nelson dancing was entered into with great spirit to music excellently rendered by the Cerberus band. The large party returned to Williamstown after dark.
The official report on the Cerberus boilers, dated 16th October, is as follows:- "The plating and stays are reduced to about 50 per cent. of their original dimensions. When constructed the were to carry 40 lb. pressure per square inch. They are now only capable of working to 17 lb. pressure. I am of the opinion that they cannot now be advantageously repaired, but with an expenditure of, say £100 they can be used when required during the next twelve months, but only at the above reduced pressure. To maintain the Cerberus in an efficient state it will be necessary to take immediate steps to supply new boilers, the cost of which is estimated at £7,000.-(signed) ALEXANDER WILSON, Engineer Surveyor."
The electric light was burned on board the Cerberus between a quarter to 9 and a quarter to 10 on Wednesday night, and the display was witnessed from the piers by a number of Geelong residents.
Some weeks ago Captain Mandeville, of the Cerberus, while experimenting in his own house with a miniature torpedo, received some troublesome injuries in the leg through an explosion which accidentally occured. A few days since hemorrage commenced, and the medical men who were consulted found much difficulty in stopping it. Last evening, however, the artery was secured, and the bleeding stopped and Captain Mandeville is now progressing satisfactorily, and with care and patience is likely to recover. The relapse is in a great measure attributed to his eagerness to get about immediately after the accident and before the injuries he had received were healed. The Cerberus is ready to move to Geelong, but in consequence of her captain's state of health she is under orders to remain at present in Hobson's Bay.
Fine weather accompanied the Victorian Naval Forces on their annual Easter cruise. The order of starting for the Heads was : Cerberus under the command of Captain Pelham the Nelson under the command of Captain Dennis ; the Victoria (gunboat), Lieutenant Webb the Albert (gunboat), Sub Lieutenant Fry; the Gannet, Sub Lieutenant Gaunt; the Batman, Sub Lieutenant Miller; the Fawkner, Sub Lieutenant Aderley ; and the Osprey, Sub Lieutenant Jawell, left Williamstown to work mimic havoc and destruction amongst the coast defences at the Heads and the torpedo fleet charged to defend them. The Cerberus carried Captain White, the naval commandant of the fleet, and it was noticed on arriving on the flag ship that, whether owing to the change of command or other circumstances, the vessels presented a far more ship shape and seamanlike appearance than when, during the last manoeuvres, she was made the subject of so much comment. About 10.15 the Cerberus got under steam and led the way down the Bay, with the Nelson in her wake, tugged by two boats, and the gunboats and hopper barges following in order of battle. On the way down the men were put through gun and other drills, and their efficiency in beating to quarters and in fire and deck practice was distinctly creditable to all in command. The anchor was let go off the quarantine station, and the gunboats taking up positions astern, and then preparations were made throughout the fleet to repeal the torpedo attack which was expected from the Swan Island fleet, in charge of Lieutenant Commander Hamilton. The night was very bright and clear, and all against the attacking party, but, notwithstanding these handicaps, Lieutenant Hamilton succeeded in working the direst destruction (on paper) with his fleet of four boats. His flotilla consisted of the Nepean, commanded by Chief Torpedo Officer Dann, the Lonsdale, Mr Blair, and the Gordon, Mr Ogilvie, whilst the Childers carried the pennant. About two hours after midnight, when Lieutenant Hamilton considered that in all probability the watch on the men of war would be some extend fatigued, a start was made from the Swan Island, and the four boats managed to get well under way without being notices. The Childers was sent full speed ahead past the pile light, then turned and headed for the Cerberus, but the noise of her engines and bright light betrayed her, and she was supposedly sunk by an 18 ton gun with great ease outside her torpedo range. Not a bit depressed by the untoward happening, she dodged round and engaged each vessel in the squadron, being detected and riddled by 6 pounder and Nordenfelt bullets, and accepting the situation with the greatest equanimity. The discomfiture of the Childers, was, however, only part of the deep laid scheme of Lieutenant Hamilton's to lull the warships into a sense of false security, and strategy was signally successful, for under cover of the fire from the ships two of the boats the Gordon and the Lonsdale crept up and blew the Victoria, Albert, and Nelson to atoms in the most leisurely manner possible. It was then held that enough blood had been shed for one night, and operations ceased for the night, leaving the honours distinctly in the hands of Lieutenant Hamilton and his men. On Saturday the day was begun by battle firing from the Nelson and gunboats, but the Cerberus was being energetically made spick and span in anticipation of the visit of the Governor, who was announced to arrive about midday. Shortly after 12 o'clock the smoke of the Lady Loch was seen coming down the West Channel, and a few minutes afterwards his Excellency was ascending the side of the Cerberus, to the inspiring strains of the National Anthem from the massed band on the lower deck.
The Cerberus yesterday made a trial trip down the Bay, after having had new boilers put into her. The vessel was not in perfect trim. the fitters having only left her on the previous day, but everything was in readiness for actual work.
A better day for the trial could not have been chosen, the air being calm and the Bay placid. A start was made at noon, and the ship steamed down the Bay to a point about 12 miles below the lightship. Only the representatives of the press, the officers and crew.and Mr. Wilson. secretary for ports and harbors. were on board. Having arrived at the point indicated. Captain Manderville gave orders to the crew to prepare for practice, and the turret guns were loaded. The usual triangular target having been floated, the ship steamed away for about a mile, the practice being for 2000 yards. Considering that the crew had no recent opportunity for practice, the firing was fairly good and tolerably accurate. The target was not hit, but had a vessel of even small size floated in the place occupied by the target it would have faired ill with her.
Some practice at short range with the gatling gun was also carried out with most satisfactory results. The square tin fired at was riddled, and the shot fell immediately around the tin like hail.
After gun practice had been bought to a close the Cerberus steamed back to her moorings. On the return trip some attempt was made to measure the pace of the vessel. Under 28lb. of steam, the engines make 86 revolutions per minute, the speed was logged at fully 9 knots an hour. That was the best result attained, and under the circumstances it may be considered most satisfactory. It must be understood however, that the boilers and pipes are not yet covered with non-conducting material, and a large amount of power is lost by radiation. There is also a tendency, as with all new boilers, to prime. This, however, will not occur again. Mr. Wilson, the Government engineer, has no doubt that when the boilers and pipes are covered the vessel will attain the speed of 10 knots. There are some minor connections yet to be made that will add to the efficiency of the vessel, and when all is in perfect order an official trip will probably be made. Owing to one of the washers of the hydraulic rams connected with the steam steering gear getting out of order the apparatus did not work to the satisfaction of Mr. Wilson, and he had the appliance thrown out of gear, and the hand steering machinery applied. This matter will be easily rectified, and as the steering appliances have been fully tested previously, no hitch need be looked forward to in the future.
The Cerberus cast anchor at six p.m. at her old mooring ground in Hobson's Bay. Gunner Smith, recently arrived from England, officiated as acting Lieutenant. In the evening after being anchored for some time the new electric apparatus was tried, and found to work most satisfactorily.
The Minister of Defence has addressed to the Premier the following memorandum relative to the defrence of the South Channel and other matters:-SOUTH CHANNEL FORT
The original design of this fort has necessarily been modified from time to time, consequent upon the great improvement made in the power of the guns during the past few years. The final plan has now, however, been definately settled (save in a few minor points) and within three weeks tenders will be called for the first portion of the work, consisting of an extension of the stone annulus so as to form a harbour in which the torpedo boats could be stationed, and sheltered by the fort, and which may take six months to complete. While this contract is proceeding , the specifications will be prepared and tenders called for the main work, which will be built on a foundation of cement-concrete cylinders, a class of work not yet undertaken in Victoria, and which will require great care in executing to stand the heavy superstructure of the fort. The guns (three 9in. B.L. on hydro-pneumatic carriage, four 5in. B.L.on hydro-pneumatic travelling carriage) for this fort have also been ordered.DEFENCE OF THE SOUTH CHANNEL
Knowing the vital importance of thoroughly defending this channel, and that, until the erection and arming of the fort, it is practically open to any attacking force, I, on the 28th October last, addressed a memo, to the naval and military commandants, asking what steps should be taken for the defence of the South Channel, pending the erection of the fort.
The report received from the naval commandants was as follows:-
Williamstown, December, 1884
With reference to your memo, of the 28th October, requesting a full report as to the best and quickest method of defending Port Phillip, and especially the South Channel, from an attack by an enemy's ships, I have the honour to offer the following remarks:-
Commencing with the South Channel, I must first call your attention to the fact that it is laid down as a maxim that electrical mines should not be used beyond the range of the guns of the place to be defended. In the present instance, it is absolutely impossible to adhere to this rule, as it will always be necessary to keep the South Channel open for navigation as large ships cannot enter by the West Channel, and, consequently, mechanical mines, which are equally dangerous to friends and foes, cannot be used.
The portion of the South Channel that, from its narrowness and depth of water, renders it suitable for defence by submarine observation mines, and where firing stations can be placed, within easy distance of the mine-field, is considerably beyond the range of any guns now placed, or that could be placed, on the neibouring headlands.
It is therefore absolutely necessary, in order to ensure an effective submarine mine defence that the South Channel fort should be completed. In the absence of a gun defence from a fort or forts, I have stationed the Victorian squadron in the position I consider best calculated to afford protection to the minefields and firing stations, but it must be remarked that in the time of war the Victorian navy will have other duties to perform, such as the defence of any other port that may be threatened, and that possibly they or some of them may not be available when Port Phillip is attacked.
Attatched is a chart drawn by Lieutenant Hely-Hutchinson showing the proposed position of mine-fields and the position of ships defending. The better to explain the proposed defence of the port, I will suppose an enemy's ship attempting to enter the Heads and proceeding towards the South Channel at a speed of 13 knots, and show the difficulties she would have to encounter, allowing 3,500 yards to be the effective range of the defending guns. The ship I will consider to be entering on clearing mark (A) Admiralty chart. She should be under fire from Nepean fort for one mile, or 4m. 37s. of time. She then comes under fire of the Queenscliff battery, and gradually bearing away for the South Channel, will be under fire of both forts for 4,800 yards, or 11 minutes of time. She is then out of range of Nepean, and a quarter of a mile further off Queenscliff, and comes under fire of the proposed guns at Point Franklin and Point King, for 20 minutes. I do not consider the last-mentioned guns of much value protecting the entrance of the channel, but they woujld be of great use in preventing enemies' vessles from anchoring between Observatory Point and Point King whilst preparing for further operations.
The squadron, consisting of the Cerberus, Nelson, Victoria, Albert, Fawkner, Batman, and three torpedo-boats
will be stationed as follows:-
The Cerberus, accompanied by the Victoria and the Albert, would attack the enemy immediately she entered
the Heads, who would thus be exposed to an additional fire from four 18-ton guns, one 25-ton gun, one 12-ton
gun, and one 4-ton gun, besides small guns and machine -guns. Two of the torpedo-boats should accompany
the Cerberus, and, under cover of the fire from the ships and forts, attack as opportunities occurred. As soon
as their torpedoes were discharged, they should retire at full speed to the Nelson, which would carry spare
The boats Batman and Fawkner wll be stationed in rear of the first mine-field.
The Nelson will be stationed at the east entrance of the South Channel with supplies of spare ammunition,
torpedoes, &c., and will be in readiness to assist in defending the mine-fields. The third torpedo boat will be
in reserve with the Nelson.
For the positions of the first and second torpedo-field, of the firing stations and their construction, and also the mode of laying down and firing the mines, see Lieutenant Hutchinson's charts and my confidential report. The first torpedo-field will consist of 42, 500lb observation mines. The second torpedo-field will consist of 102, 250lb observation mines. It will be necessary to defend certain positions in the neighbourhood of the South Channel with mechanical torpedoes .... (See confidential report) In the event of the enemy passing the forts and overpowering the ships, they would, in proceeding down the South Channel, come under fire of the Batman and Fawkner when * * * * * Should the enemy succeed in destroying or forcing the first torpedo-field, the gunboats will retire in rear of the second torpedo-field, and act in conjunction with the Nelson in protecting it. The reserve torpedo boat and the two others, if available, will attack as opportunities occur. I should recommend that the chief harbourmaster be consulted as to the placing of additional buoys to mark the Lelis, Symonds ans Pinnace Channels, to enable vessels of small draft to navigate them in safety. The depth of water and strength of the tide at the Heads considerably increase the difficulties of defending the entrance to observation mInes. Suggestions that I trust may overcome this difficulty, and also a plan for distributing a certain number of large mechanical mines, will be found in my confidential report.
I suggest that, in the event of war being suddenly declared, and taking into consideration the incomplete state of the forts and the amount of torpedo plant available, as well as the scarcity of officers and men trained to torpedo work, that the West Channel be completely blocked by mechanical miners and other obstructions, shown in the confidential report. Any attempt to destroy these obstructions would have to be undertaken under the fire of Swan Island fort. Electric lights and guard boats would be required at night. The above system of defence will enable the Victorian navy and the torpedo corps to concentrate all their efforts in the defence of the South Channel. In the event of war, the navy at its present establishment of officers and men would not be able to assist in laying down torpedoes, and consequently, whatever system of defence is decided on, it will be necessary to take frequent opportunities of practising the torpedo corps in laying down the mine-fields and testing them.
I attach a list of stores, boats, &c., required for the torpedo defence according to this plan, and a further list of stores that should be procured and held in reserve. The defence of Hobson's Bay is not included in this report, though supposing that the enemy succeeded in overcoming all the obstacles in the South Channel I see no reason why Hobson's Bay should not still hold its own if properly defended. The military commandant has, I believe, under consideration the gun defence of Williamstown and Sandridge, and I propose to fit as spar-torpedo (sic) boats such as steam launches belonging to Government Departments as may be available. A Whitehead torpedo boat for special service in Hobson's Bay would doubtless be a valuable protection. On the outbreak of war I should recommend the Government to select certain suitable steamers, which, ballasted and protected as shown in my confidential report, would be a valuable addition to the naval forces. The unarmoured vessels of the Victorian navy could be similarily protected at small cost, the material being always at hand. In conclusion I beg to call your attention to the prudent defenceless state of Western Port by sea and to suggest that immediate steps be taken to arrange a submarine of defence under the present circumstances, this defence must necessarily consist of mechanical or electro-mechanical mines.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obediant servant,
A. BRODRICK THOMAS.
A report was also received from the military commandant, accompanied by tables showing boats, mines, cables, stores, &c. required for two lines of torpedo defences for the South Channel, showing the distribution of torpedo corps, and particulars as to necessary alteration in the staff of the torpedo corps.If the alterations recommended were made, the total annual cost of the torpedo establishment was estimated at about £8,550. The commandant says the temporary system of defence must be jointly carried out by the naval and military commandants, as the artillery fire in immediate support of the mine-fields must be naval artillery fire.
From those reports it is clear that the main defence must in the meantime be by torpedoes covered by the guns of the ships, supplemented by guns in temporary employments on shore. These recommendations are now being carried out.
When dealing in my regulation scheme with this branch of the Defence Forces, it appears to me impperative that, for this special and dangerous class of work, it is necessary that there should be a small permanent force, say, of 12 men, who would take charge of the torpedo stores, valued at about £50,000, and, by regular practice, become skilled in the effective us of same. These suggestions having been thoroughly endorsed by the navlal and military commandants, by Major Ellery, and subsequently by Major-General Scratchley, several Royal Engineer non-commisioned officers and articles have been obtained, and an officer specially recommended by Major-General Scratchley will shortly arrive, when suiable men will be selected locally to complete the permanent staff.MOUNTING 80-POUNDER GUNS
On taking office I found that many of the 80-pounder guns required new cartridges, the old ones being more or less unsuitable and unsafe.
While at home, I ascertained that rapid strides were being made in perfecting the Moncrieff system of disappearing carriages, and Major-General Scratchley, having shortly after reaching England, advised me to the same effect, it was deemed undesireable, and especially as the forts were not ready to be armed, to spend money upon carriages of the old obsolete make, when in a few months the new system might be adopted.
Exhaustive and most successful experiments have been conducted by the War Office; and Major-General
Scratchley having informed me that, a few weeks prior to his departure, the pattern had been finlly approved, an order has been sent home by telegraph for 11 of the hydro-pneumatic carriages for the 80-pounder guns, which, with the one already ordered, will provide us follows:-
One for the work on Queenscliff neck.
Four for the Queenscliff fort.
Three for the Swan Island fort.
Four for the Point Nepean fort.
Captain Thomas, in his report, deals only with the guns and vessels actually in the colony, but, in addition to these, there will shortly available:-
The Gannet, Harbour Trust steamer, 12 knots, carrying one 6in. B.L. gun. The new steamer of the Harbour department, 12 knots, carrying one 6in B.L. gun. And four other local steamers, each carrying a 6in B.L. gun. Apart from several of the M.L. guns now in store could be placed in local steamers, if required. The supply of ammunition on hand and ordered is ample both for small arms and heavy guns, and orders for the extra torpedo stores required will be placed in a few days.
Now mounts three 9in. R.M.L. guns, and four 80 pounder R.M.L. guns. The guns are en barbette. The gorge of the battery is closed by a high loop-holed wall for musketry defence, with "keep" at one angle, and small bastions at two points of wall, also for musketry defence. Hydro-pneumatic carriages have been ordered for the 80 pounder guns. To complete armament of fort a heavy new type 10in B.L. gun is to be mounted on a hydro-pneumatic disappearing carriage in a pit and machine guns are to be placed on "keep" and at bastions in wall. The fort is now fit for service. Magazines and storerooms exist, also ammunition for guns that are mentioned.SWAN ISLAND BATTERY
Now mounts three 9in R.M.L. guns, and one 80-pounder R.M.L. gun. The guns are en barbette. The fort is nearly on the water level; height of parapet, about 20ft.above the ordinary H.W. mark. The gorge of the fort is closed by an earthen keep; height of parapet, about 20ft. On the right flank is a camping ground, with earth parapet surrounding it. On the left flank is a similar enclosure, used as a torpedo store. The whole battery is surrounded by a palisade, with caponieres for flank defence by musketry. To complete the fort two 80-pounder guns have been mounted and machine guns supplied. The fort is now fit for service. Magazines, &c. exist, and ammunition for guns. A small barrack for, say, 20 men stands in rear of the keep inside the palisades.POINT NEPEAN FORT
No guns are mounted. Emplacement for six guns, with racers laid in four of them. Magazines complete, except fittings. Four 80-pounder guns with carriages and platforms are ready to be mounted. These could be mounted and used within a fortnight. The guns are en barbette. It is intended to alter the plan of mounting of all the guns, to place an extra 10in. B.L. gun in a detatched position on the point. All the guns will be eventually on hydro-pneumatic carriages in pits.WILLIAMSTOWN BATTERY.
Now mounts one 80-pounder R.M.L. gun, and two 68-pounder S.B. guns. It is intended to remodel this battery, mount a new type B.L. gun in a pit at the salient, thicken the parapets, traverses &c.SOUTH CHANNEL FORT
Three 9in B.L. guns, and four 6in. B.L. guns, all on hydro-pneumatic carriages, have been ordered, and will be utilised in other positions, pending the completion of the fort.REDOUBT AT QUEENSCLIFF NECK
Design, an earthen redoubt, with musketry flank defence, to mount a 6in. B.L. gun, and an 80-pounder R.M.L. gun, both on disappearing carriages; also, machine guns.DETACHED GUN-PITS AT QUEENSCLIFF AND NEPEAN
Will contain each an 80-pounder. R.M.L. gun, on disappearing carriage. Each work is, or will be provided with an electric light apparatus. For intercommunication an electric cable will be laid between the various batteries and forts. The commanded areas -- the spaces covered by the (reasonable) fire of each gun-- have been marked on charts. For finding the position by cross bearings, signaling stations at each work will be established.
"Mr. A. Wilson, the engineer of ports and harbours has furnished the Minister of Defence with a report concerning repairs which are necessary to the ship Cerberus. Mr. Wilson states that the steering apparatus of the vessel can be improved for a sum of £150, and he also suggests that some repairs should be made to the decking at a cost of £200."