said, he wished to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, since the dreadful loss of Her Majesty's steamer Avenger, in the year 1847, any steps had been taken to erect a lighthouse on Galita Island, or the Aguglia Rocks; and whether the still greater boon to navigation of the Mediterranean, a lighthouse upon Keith's Reef, in the Skerki Channel, where Her Majesty's ship Athenian, 64, was lost in the year 1806, was obtaining the attention of Government?
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
said, he felt that the questions which his hon. Friend had put were of considerable importance. In reply to the first question, he had to state that the best naval authorities he had been able to consult with reference to the erection of a lighthouse at Galita entirely disapproved of any such construction. The site of the island was well known, and the great danger to vessels in that quarter arose from the attempts made to sail by the southern passage with a view to shorten voyages. The Avenger had been lost in an attempt to take that course. The Royal hydrographer, and all the highest naval authorities, were of opinion that the erection of a lighthouse on the island of Galita would operate as an inducement to select that passage after night-fall; and it was not the intention of the naval representatives of this country to recommend the construction of a building which they believed would be dangerous to navigation. With regard to the second question of his hon. Friend, he had to observe that there could be no doubt that the erection of a lighthouse on Keith's Reef would be productive of great benefit to the commerce of the Mediterranean. But it certainly did not at first sight appear reasonable that England should bear exclusively the cost of such a work. However, it was his intention to have those rocks carefully examined before he came to any final decision upon that subject.