HC Deb 22 February 1875 vol 222 c626

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether, in view of the great loss of life attendant upon the burning of the "Cospatrick," he will undertake to insist upon a system of fire-drill, similar to that practised on board Her Majesty's men-of-war, being adopted on board of all emigrant ships; that the crew be practised in lowering the boats, and that a proper supply of provisions, with oars and rudders, be kept at all times in each of the boats?


Among the suggestions, Sir, issued by the Board of Trade to the captains of emigrant ships, there is one that a crew of picked men should be assigned to each boat, under the charge of an officer, a steady person, who is responsible for every thing being kept at hand and ready for use, and that the men should be exorcised in lowering the boats at sea when opportunities occur. It is also suggested that the fire engines which by law must be carried should be likewise under special charge, and worked once or twice a-week, so as to be kept in proper order. Every equipment—oars, rudder, sails, hatchets, &c.—must be in every boat before it is passed by the Board of Trade surveyor. As to provisioning boats, which the best Hues do, a further suggestion is now being made by the Board of Trade. With regard to the suggestions as to drill, no law enables the Board of Trade to enforce them; nor, if there were a law, would it probably be possible practically to enforce it.