HC Deb 24 May 1880 vol 252 cc325-6

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, What is the highest degree of north latitude to which the search for H. M. S. "Atalanta" has been up to this time extended; and, whether it is the intention of the Board of Admiralty to prosecute any further search for the missing ship in more northerly latitudes than those to which the search has hitherto been extended?


Sir, as I stated on Friday last, Her Majesty's ship Blanche is now making inquiries to the northward and eastward of the Newfoundland banks in latitude about 52 N. No further inquiries will be instituted by the Admiralty beyond those I indicated in my answer on Friday. The noble Lord the Member for Chichester (Lord Henry Lennox) will perhaps allow me, at the same time, to answer the Question which stands in his name on the Paper, Whether I am able to state generally the scope of the inquiry proposed to be held into the case of the "Atalanta;" and, whether I am able to give an assurance to the House that such inquiry shall be conducted by thoroughly independent authorities? It has been decided by the Admiralty to appoint a Committee to inquire into the circumstances attending the loss of the Atalanta. The Committee will be instructed to report their opinion as to the stability, seaworthiness, and efficiency of the ship; also whether she was in all respects equipped and manned so as to fit her for the service on which she was employed. The Committee will consist of five Members, of whom three will be naval officers and two civilians. The three naval officers will be Admiral Ryder, the Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, Vice Admiral Randolph, and Staff Captain Batt. Mr. Rothery, the able head of the Wreck Commission, who has more experience of such inquiries than any other living person, has consented to serve on the Committee, and the other Member will be Mr. Waymouth, the secretary of Lloyd's, who has been nominated on the recommendation of Mr. Chapman, the chairman of Lloyd's. The inquiry will be an open one, as in the case of a court martial. I am unable to state at present whether it will be held in London or at Portsmouth.