Cont’d from page 6
every case, to the eight who died): "We do not think we were told the whole story by the eight longshoremen who were employed in No. 3 'tween decks, or at least not by all of them.
“Furthermore, we are unable to give full credence to the evidence they did give. They all seemed to show great anxiety to negative (sic) any idea of smoking in No. 3 'tween decks that morning. And yet we are quite satisfied there was smoking there.”
Evidence had been given that more than one longshoreman had been smoking aboard the Greenhill Park. (The Longshoremen's Union, incidentally, complained bitterly—and correctly—that their men had not been told of the hazardous nature of the sodium chlorate part of the cargo. Under a wide variety of circumstances, this chemical is explosive.)
The report also said, “. . . we think the true explanation of the speedy spreading of the fire was that whisky escaped from one or more of the barrels, spilled into the surrounding combustible cargo, and was ignited by a lighted match carelessly dropped by a longshoreman in the vicinity.”
And the report said that the court had come to the conclusion that the liquor barrels had been tampered with. Reference was made to the discovery after the explosion of lunch pails specially soldered to carry liquids and of hotwater bottles sewn on the inside of a jacket similar to that worn by longshoremen.
“It seems to us,” the report said, “that these were there for the express purpose of carrying away pilfered whisky.”
In June of 1946, the Greenhill Park, repaired, sailed away from Vancouver as the S.S. Phaex II under the new ownership of a Greek company. By 1967, as the Lagos Michigan, she was sold to Formosan shipbreakers for scrap.