HC Deb 11 July 1887 vol 317 cc342-3
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)

asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether, in view of the forthcoming Naval Review at Spithead, he will cause notices to be issued to all masters and owners of steam vessels employed between Portsmouth, Gosport, Southampton, and Isle of Wight, licensed to carry passengers, warning them against any infringement of the law by carrying more than the specified number of persons mentioned in their licences respectively; and, whether he will also, as a further necessary precaution, arrange for officers of the Board of Trade to attend at the various piers and landing places at the afore-mentioned towns on the day of the Review, to ensure due observance of the law against overloading, seeing that the Local Authorities have no jurisdiction over such vessels, nor over the steam launches, and that such overloading, which commonly happens on these occasions, is a very serious risk and danger to life, especially in the event of even a slight collision; in a crowded roadstead?

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

The Board of Trade have issued the following caution to owners and masters, as suggested by the hon. and gallant Member, with regard to overcrowding of passenger steamers on the occasion of the Review at Spithead:— The Board of Trade desire to call the attention of owners and masters of passenger steam- ships to the danger of overcrowding their vessels on the occasion of the Naval Review at Spithead, and to warn them of the penalties to which they will render themselves liable if they infringe the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854 (Section 319), which are as follows." (Here follows a quotation of Section 319 of the "Merchant Shipping Act, 1854.") The Board have, however, no staff to count passengers on board these steamers, nor have they authority under any Statute to appoint or pay officers to undertake such a duty. It is entirely for the local Police Authorities to take such steps as they may deem necessary to prevent overcrowding.