HC Deb 15 July 1875 vol 225 c1483

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether it is the fact that the "Darent" sailed from North Shields recently for Palermo with deficient freeboard, and also list upon her, her freeboard being eight inches only on the starboard side, and three feet one inch on the port side; and, whether any officers are stationed at the ports on the Tyne and the Wear and the Tees competent to act on their own discretion in stopping vessels in a dangerous condition?


Sir, the Darent was reported to have been ready to leave the port of North Shields with freeboard and list of the amount stated in the Question. Whether she went to sea with the list unadjusted I cannot say. To stop a steamship on the score of list alone is hazardous, as the list is frequently adjusted at the last moment. It is quite possible that the adjustment of list may correct an otherwise deficient freeboard. In my opinion the Act of Parliament does not empower the Board of Trade to delegate to an officer stationed at the port authority to stop a ship.