DISASTER AT BAY OF BISCAY.
A terrible disaster id reported from the Bay of Biscay. On Saturday night the well known steamer of the Royal Mail Packet Company, the Douro, came into collision off Finisterre with a Spanish Steamer called the Yrurac Bat, and so severe were the injuries inflicted on both vessels that both sank.
An English steamer, the Hidalgo, of Hull, was fortunately passing Finisterre at the time, and by means of it seventeen persons were saved from the Douro and sixty seven from the Yrurac Bat. But the loss of life, especially from the former vessel, which was returning from the Brazils, carrying mails and passengers, must have been very great.
It is difficult to account for accidents of this kind on the open sea. Off Finisterre, vessels have the whole wide Atlantic in which to find a path of safety; yet there is probably no part in the world in which collisions are more common than off the coasts of Spain and Portugal. The truth appears to be that the rage for speed and quick passages is now so great the captains hardly dare to make any deviation from a straight line in sailing from point to point.
Any one who has sailed from the Straits of Gibraltar and the English Channel must have been struck by the narrow belt of water which seems to form the sole frequented track in the ocean highway. Probably until international regulations are made prescribing distinct outward and inward routes on all the main ocean tracks we shall continue to hear of terrible disasters like that now reported.