§ LORD C. BERESFORD (Marylebone, E.)
I wish to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the Government can give the House any information as to the abandonment of the Sultan?
§ * THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord G. HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
I will read to the House the telegrams which I have received on this subject. Yesterday afternoon I received from the Commander-in-Chief at Malta a telegram to the following effect:—Sultan on shore, Comino Channel. I have been on board. Ship has made some water. In my opinion she can be safely got off by lightening. I am proceeding with Alexandra and other ships this evening.Late in the evening I received a further telegram stating—Damage to Sultan greater than I anticipated. Fear there is little hope of saving the ship.The last telegram from the Commander-in-Chief, which was despatched this morning, is as follows:—Thursday night.—Have reduced water in Sultan by employing German salvage ship Berger Wilhelm. There may still be a possibility of saving her when further appliances preparing are used to-morrow morning. I remain directing proceedings.The Commander-in-Chief has been directed to report whether any assistance can be sent from England. We have not yet received his reply. I may say that the last telegram from the Commander-in-Chief is confirmed by a subsequent telegram through Reuter's agency. It is dated March 8th, 11.40 a.m., and says:—The position of the Sultan remains unchanged, and she is now full of water. The salvage steamer Berger Wilhelm is alongside, working her centrifugal pumps, and gaining slightly on the water. The other vessels of the Mediterranean Squadron, under the command of the Duke of Edinburgh, are doing their utmost to render assistance, and the prospect of saving the Sultan is now better than it was yesterday. The accident occurred during torpedo practice.