§ MR. LAIRD
said, he would now beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade 843 with reference to the 132nd section of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, which empowers the Board of Trade to lay down Rules for the qualifications of Masters and Mates for certificates of competency, Whether any alterations have been made in the Examination Papers, since they were first published in 1851; and, if so, what is the nature of those alterations; whether he has any objection to lay upon the table of the House a Copy of the present Examination Papers, showing the alterations made, if any; and, whether under existing Rules persons can pass, and have passed, for certificates of competency, as Commanders of large full-rigged ships, their former services having only been as seamen on hoard such full-rigged ships, or as Masters or Mates of fishing smacks and small coasting vessels?
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
Some alterations, Sir, have been made from time to time in the rules concerning the qualifications of masters and mates. Those alterations have been suggested by experience. The examination papers shall be laid on the table, and in a form which will show the changes and additions that have taken place. In answer to the second Question of the hon. Gentleman as to whether persons having only served in small coasters receive certificates of competency, entitling them to command large full-rigged ships, I have to state that such a practice would be contrary to our rules, and if cases have occurred they have been accidental.