§ MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
asked the President of the Board of Trade, If passenger vessels entering American ports have to conform to the regulations of the United States for the better prevention of loss of life at sea; if the S.S. Oregon had, in consequence, sufficient life belts in accessible places for all on board; if it is a fact that the good order which prevailed among the passengers when she was sinking, and which enabled all to be saved, was largely due to their being provided with life belts; and, when Her Majesty's Government propose to enforce similar obvious precautions on all British ships?
§ THE SECRETARY (Mr. C. T. D. ACLAND) (Cornwall, Launceston)
(who replied): In reply to the first two Questions of the hon. Member, it is the case that passenger vessels entering American ports have to conform to the Regulations of the United States for the prevention of loss of life at sea, and we believe that the Oregon did carry sufficient life belts for all on board. The Report of the inquiry into the loss of the vessel does not enable me to state more than that good order prevailed. In reply to the last Question, the Board of Trade can only enforce the precautions laid down by Act of Parliament. As it has been repeatedly stated, a Committee of experts is inquiring into the question of boats, rafts, and life-saving apparatus carried by sea-going merchant ships, and when the inquiry is completed will report to me and to the Royal Commission on Loss of Life at Sea.