HC Deb 31 May 1880 vol 252 cc773-4

asked the President of the Board of Trade, If his attention has been called to the Report of the master of the steamship "Teutonia," which appeared in the "Times" of the 8th May, stating that he had passed at sea a derelict vessel, "very low in the water, and dangerous to navigation;" if his attention has been called to a report by the master of the royal mail steamer "Medway," in the "Times" of the 20th, that he had passed a vessel of about 1,000 tons (the size of Her Majesty's ship "Atalanta")bottomup;and, if he will take into consideration the propriety of devising some means of inducing, or, if necessary, compelling the commanders of vessels falling in with such derelict ships firstly to ascertain, if possible, the names of such ships, and secondly, if possible, to sink or otherwise destroy them?


My attention has been called to the reports to which the hon. Member refers. There can be no doubt that such derelicts constitute a danger to navigation; but it would, I think, be impossible to devise regulations to insure their compulsory destruction. Any legislation for such a purpose would certainly be evaded, and would lead to the concealment of the existence of these derelicts by masters of vessels who now report them. It will, perhaps, be better to trust to the common sense and common interests of masters to sink or otherwise destroy them where it may be possible to do so.