HC Deb 28 May 1878 vol 240 cc834-5

asked the President of the Board of Trade, as to the suspension of two pilots at Cardiff, Whether Howe, one of the suspended pilots, had a first-class certificate, and was acting on an experience of twenty-one years, when he declined to take a vessel out of Cardiff when, as he alleged, there was not sufficient depth of water outside the Bute Docks to enable him to do so with safety; and, whether the Board of Trade contemplates having the channel leading to the port of Cardiff surveyed by an independent authority, with a view to either reinstating the two pilots or confirming their suspension?


Sir, I find from the annual Pilotage Returns for the year 1857, that John Howe was then acting as a licensed pilot at Cardiff. I presume, therefore, that he has an experience of 21 years. The latest published Return shows that he was then a first-class Channel pilot. The Pilotage Board at Cardiff is constituted under the Bristol Channel Pilotage Act 1861, which gives to the Board of Trade no controlling power in the matter of pilotage, and section 336 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, the only section of a general Act which gives any power to the Board of Trade in these matters, only enables me to consider representations from pilots who complain of some specific bye-law or regulation, and gives me no power whatever to interfere in any other way between pilots and Pilotage Boards. I am not, therefore, in a postion either to re-instate the pilots or to confirm their suspension. As to a survey of the Channel, the Board of Trade have no funds at their disposal for making the suggested survey; but we were informed early in the year that the Bute trustees, who origin- ally cut the Channel, were about to remove the obstructions that had grown up in it. As this subject excites considerable public attention, and is a matter of great interest to pilots generally, a most valuable and industrious class of men, I shall be happy to lay the Correspondence on the Table as soon as it is completed, if my hon. Friend will move for it.