§ MR. CHILDERS
asked the President of the Board of Trade, What steps the Board of Trade have taken to bring to the notice of their officers and of the trade, the recommendations of the Royal Commission with respect to combustion and explosion in coal laden ships; what number of casualties arising from these causes have, since the Report of the Commission, been investigated by the Board of Trade; and, what has been the result of those investigations?
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
Sir, the Board of Trade have brought the recommendations of the Royal Commission from time to time under the attention of Lloyd's and the Liverpool Underwriter's Association, and have also taken steps to hold inquiries in such cases as they thought desirable, and to procure the attendance of Inspectors of Mines as witnesses. They have also obtained from the Customs a record of the particulars of coals forming the cargo of vessels clearing outwards. We have specially directed the attention of our officers in the various districts to the leading recommendations of the Royal Commission, which we have re-printed for the purpose. We have also thought it right to issue a placard, giving a summary of the recommendations of the Royal Commission, and to post that placard in all the ports of the Kingdom. Seven casualties arising from this cause have been actually investigated by the 1968 Board of Trade since the Report of the Royal Commission; and I regret to say that the loss of life which these investigations have revealed, appears in most instances to have been caused by a culpable disregard of the recommendations of the Royal Commission. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that this grave subject will have my most careful attention, with a view to see whether any further steps can be taken without unduly interfering with the proper responsibilities of ship-owners and under writers. I cannot but add that I think the right hon. Gentleman has done a public service by again calling attention to the dangers to which life and property are subject by disregard of the valuable and simple recommendations of the Royal Commission.