The outset, nevertheless, was not favourable to the Romans. The Roman
admiral, the consul Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio, who had sailed for
Messana with the first seventeen vessels ready for sea (494), fancied,
when on the voyage, that he should be able to capture Lipara by a
coup de main. But a division of the Carthaginian fleet stationed at
Panormus blockaded the harbour of the island where the Roman vessels
rode at anchor, and captured the whole squadron along with the consul
without a struggle.
This, however, did not deter the main fleet from
likewise sailing, as soon as its preparations were completed, for
Messana. On its voyage along the Italian coast it fell in with a
Carthaginian reconnoitring squadron of less strength, on which it
had the good fortune to inflict a loss more than counterbalancing
the first loss of the Romans; and thus successful and victorious it
entered the port of Messana, where the second consul Gaius Duilius
took the command in room of his captured colleague.