HC Deb 16 April 1888 vol 324 cc1317-8
MR. LAFONE (Southwark, Bermondsey)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he is aware that petroleum is now coming in bulk from Russia in tank steamers right up the Thames as high as the Regent's Canal Dock, and that they discharge with fires alight on board, frequently working night and day; that these steamers often carry upwards of 12,000 barrels, and that so little precaution is exercised in the River, that two steamers went into one of the up town docks lately with inflammable oil in barrels below 73 degrees Fahr., and stored the oil on the quay; and, if he will take immediate steps to bring in a Bill to regulate the storage of petroleum?


The vessels containing in tanks refined petroleum oil—not petroleum to which the Act applies—discharge oil into the Regent's Canal Dock, the Company having satisfied themselves that such arrangements would safely be permitted subject to the precautions imposed by their ordinary bye-laws. The fires which are used to work the pumping engines are suitably isolated and protected. As regards the bringing of petroleum up the Thames, the Conservators allow no vessels having any petroleum to which the Act applies to come up above Thames Haven, or in the case of other petroleum or refined oil above Dudman's Dock; and in the latter case, only subject to certain specified precautions, including the production of a certificate that the cargo contains no low-test oil. Diligent inquiries have failed to elicit that any such case as is referred to in the latter part of the Question has occurred; and a careful examination of the tests of samples periodically taken by the officers of the Metropolitan Board of Works from the consignments on the London wharves in 1888 discloses only one instance of a sample with a flashing-point as low as 73, and none with a flashing-point below 73. A Bill regulating the storage and conveyance of inflammable liquids is in active preparation, and we hope to be able to introduce it this Session.