§ MR. PENROSE FITZGERALD (Cambridge)
asked the President of the Board of Trade, What steps he proposes to take with regard to the present Rule of the Road at Sea and its official interpretation, in view of the alarming statements recently made in the public Press by sailors of experience, who condemn the interpretation as being the cause of numberless collisions?
§ SIR GEORGE BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
wished to ask the President of the Board of Trade a Question of which he had given him private Notice, whether those who complained of the existing Rule of the Road Regulations had produced any case of collision which, on judicial investigation, had been proved to have been caused by faults in the present Regulations?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
In reply to the Question just asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, I believe that no case of collision has been produced which, on judicial investigation, has been proved to have been caused by faults in the present Steering and Sailing Rules. The Board of Trade have not received any representation or intimation that these Rules are not sufficient, or are not understood, from the Government of any foreign country, or from shipowners in any part of the world, nor have the Admiralty Division of the High Court, nor any of the Wreck Inquiry or Naval Courts, expressed any such opinion, although the Rules are under consideration in every case of collision investigated. This will, to a great extent, answer the Question of my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge, but I may add that I am in correspondence with Admiral Colomb on the subject, and have requested him to forward for my consideration any amendment he may desire to propose to Article 16 of the International Regulations.
§ MR. PENROSE FITZGERALD
Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman distinctly to say that the question of inquiry as to collisions at sea, not only the captains of vessels but the Rules themselves are put upon their trial?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
That is exactly what I have stated. The Rules are before the Court in every case.