HC Deb 07 April 1879 vol 245 cc450-1

asked the President of the Board of Trade, What number of passengers is the "Calais-Douvres" licensed to carry across the Channel; what number of boats does she carry; what number of passengers would these boats accommodate in the event of the ships being sunk by collision in midchannel; and, is there any Law compelling passenger ships to carry sufficient boats or rafts to accommodate the whole of her crew and passengers?


In answer to my hon. and gallant Friend, I beg to say that the Calais-Douvres was last year licensed to carry 1,088 passengers, that she carried four boats, and that those boats would accommodate about 110 passengers. The Merchant Shipping Acts do not compel passenger ships to carry boats and rafts sufficient to accommodate the whole of their crews and passengers; and I am sure the House will understand that it would be impossible that they should do so. Such a number of boats would seriously interfere with the management of the ships; and even if they could be provided for on boardship, it would be almost impossible to lower them in case of emergency. It is only fair that I should add that, as regards boats, their number and contents are settled by statute according to the tonnage of the vessel, and that all other steamers are subject to the same law as the Calais-Douvres.