HC Deb 11 March 1880 vol 251 c800

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether he is now in a position to order a prosecution of the owners of the "Louisa Fletcher" for attempting to send that vessel to sea in an unseaworthy state; and, whether he ordered a proper survey of the "Maha-Buleshwar" at Falmouth with a view to the prosecution of the owner of that vessel, if deemed to be liable for a similar offence against the Law?


Sir, I have consulted my legal adviser as I announced, and I am advised that the owners of the Louisa Fletcher cannot be prosecuted in this case, information having been received that before she left London she had just been surveyed by Lloyd's, and continued in her class, and that before she left Plymouth the defect in the rudder, which had arisen at sea, was put right, to the satisfaction of the local surveyors. The matters connected with the state of the forecastle do not come within the category of unseaworthiness, so that it is at once apparent that there is no case for a prosecution. With regard to the case of the Maha-Buleshwar, at Falmouth, I had no opportunity of ordering any survey, as the ship was towed off to sea before the facts were brought to my notice. I am advised, therefore, that I could not prosecute in this case. I think it only due to all concerned that the Papers in these two cases should be laid upon the Table.