HC Deb 14 June 1877 vol 234 c1763

asked the President of the Board of Trade, If his attention has been directed to an article in the "Scotsman" newspaper of the 11th instant as follows:— On the arrival of the ship" County of Lancaster "at the Tail of the Bank, Greenock, with a cargo of sugar from Java, the Customs officials, in making out the vessel's return, added to the tonnage of the ship 2 84–100ths tons to the gross register in consequence of the vessel carrying on clock two spare spars, a hen coop, and two beef casks, while another section of the Merchant Shipping Act provides that a ship is not seaworthy unless she has two spare spars; and, whether the Government intend during next Session of Parliament to consolidate the Merchant Shipping Acts, with a view to do away with the anomaly and many others complained of?


I do not see The Scotsman, and, therefore, have not seen the article referred to; but I should have been very happy to see the hon. Member, if he has any case to allege of mistake made in measuring deck cargo space. There have been cases in the Clyde, of which the County of Lancaster seems to have been one, in which the space occupied on deck by hen coops, beef casks, and live animals for consumption, and spars, have been included in such measurement; and they have been referred by the Board of Trade to the Board of Customs, whose officers measure those spaces. The Board of Trade have laid down, by instructions to their principal officers, that store spars should be regarded as equipment, and the space they occupy should not be measured as deck cargo space. There is no such section in the Act of last year as stated in the Question, nor any anomalies complained of calling for amendment or consolidation of the Merchant Shipping Acts.