This description by Helga Quadflieg
Returning from a voyage, the Charlotte Rhodes* is caught in a heavy storm. Although they are only 20 miles from shore, Baines as Captain wants to jettison cargo in order to save the ship, but he is overruled by James in his capacity as owner. As a result, the ship is very badly damaged.
Back in Liverpool, Baines visits his sister Alice and her kids. He is appalled by the living conditions in their new dwellings. Alice reminds him that she had to leave her old house after the “fever” had polluted the water supplies and she points out James’ role in this (see previous episode). She asks Baines for £100 to buy some small farming property in the country and Baines vows that he will find the money “one way or another”.
Baines asks James for the money; James - needless to say - refuses but (as becomes clear later) offers Baines a share in his next cargo which in turn Baines refuses. Accusing James of “wanton” behaviour, Baines decides to break with him.
James urgently has to take cargo to Portugal and because of a shortage of (cheap) charter ships, he has to charter some space for the cargo (and himself) on another ship - the “Pibroch”. On board the Pibroch he is surprised to find that Baines is the Master in command,
James soon becomes worried about the dilapidated condition of the ship and the nature of the main cargo, alarmed that the Pibroch is riding too low. He is confirmed in his suspicions about “coffin ships” and insurance fraud by a (seemingly) mentally confused veteran sailor of the Pibroch He makes several attempts to warn Baines about this, but for a long time Baines is determined not to listen to these warnings (for which James in turn now accuses the obstinate Baines of “wanton” behaviour). When Baines finally decides to examine the cargo, he finds that James was right. What was supposed to be bales of cargo were in fact weighted down with heavy waste slag from a foundry, sure to send the ship to the bottom in a heavy storm.
Baines instructs the crew to jettison the cargo, a desperate attempt is made but to late, the vessel is shipping water as the weather worsens; Baines has no alternative but to try to run the ship aground to save those aboard.
In the meantime back in Liverpool, Anne has to deal with Elizabeth’s marital troubles: After finding out about Albert’s affair with a music hall singer, and going to see her Elizabeth is determined to leave Albert.
Anne warns her about the economic risks of such a step and even enlists Daniel Fogarty’s assistance in trying to talk Elizabeth out of these plans.
These worries, however, are soon overshadowed by her worries about James, when Robert introduces her to the Pibroch’s former Master from whom she learns about the unfitness of the Pibroch for sailing in deep water. When James finally returns from his adventure, Anne learns that Baines will face an enquiry into the sinking of the Pibroch.
* Confusingly later in the quarrel between Baines and James, Baines keeps referring to the “Osborne” rather than to the “Charlotte Rhodes”