HC Deb 05 April 1887 vol 313 cc498-9

asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether, in view of the result of the inquiry into the loss of the Kapunda, he purposes taking any steps by which negligent disregard of Sailing Regulations may be prevented for the future; whether it is a fact that the single women on board the Kapunda were locked in their berths on the night of the collision, and were consequently drowned without the possibility of escape; and, whether it is a custom on emigrant ships to lock single women in their berths during the night; and, if such be the case, whether he will consider what precautions of an alternative character may be taken, and direct accordingly?

THE SECRETARY (Baron HENRY DE WORMS) (Liverpool, East Toxteth)

In the case of the collision between the Ada Melmore and the Kapunda, the Board of Trade have already given instructions for the prosecution of the Master of the Ada Melmore for not carrying side-lights in accordance with the International Regulations for preventing collisions at sea. the single women on board the Kapunda wore not locked in their berths. What was locked was the door of the compartment in which the single women were carried. This door is locked by the matron in charge of them, and can be unlocked and opened immediately in case of necessity. The Regulation requiring the matron to lock up the single women's quarters at night is a Regulation made by the Crown Agents for the Colonies. It has for many years been the practice to lock the door of the single women's compartment at night in the case of ships carrying emigrants to the British Colonies; and it is done for their own protection, and no complaints or objections have ever reached the Board of Trade.