HC Deb 19 August 1887 vol 319 cc1106-7
MR. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars, &c.)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Who appointed the late Captain Beasley and Captains Castle and Parfitt as assessors in the Court of the Wreck Commissioner, which recently held the inquiry into the Wreck of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company's steamer Tasmania; whether the three assessors above-named are retired officers of the Peninsular and Oriental Company; whether the late Captain Beasley was, until his death, and Captains Castle and Parfitt are, in receipt of retiring allowance from the Peninsular and Oriental Company; and why, in appointing assessors to the Wreck Court to hold the above inquiry, in which the Peninsular and Oriental Company's method of manning their vessels was substantially on its trial, assessors were appointed who had been in the employ of that Company?


These officers were appointed by me to act as assessors in this inquiry, they being next on the rota on the list of nautical assessors. I am informed that they were retired officers of the Peninsular and Oriental Company, but that they were not in receipt of any retiring allowance from that Company. I was not at the time of their appointment aware, and the Papers in the Office do not show, that they had served in that Company. I am informed by the Wreck Commissioner that they conducted this inquiry in the most upright and impartial manner.


asked, if the right hon. Gentleman would have appointed them if he had known all the circumstances?


said, that was a hypothetical question, which it was difficult to answer. The list of nautical assessors was reformed every three years; and, as a matter of course, those interested in any particular Company which might be concerned, as, for instance, in the matter of retiring allowance, were passed over.