§ SIR EDWARD REED (Cardiff)
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether there is any truth in the report that the grounding of the Sultan was due to a defective chart of the Maltese Islands; and, in view of the crucial test to which surveys are subject in these days of deep draught, high speed, and torpedo operations, whether he will consider the advisability of encouraging naval officers possessed of the necessary aptitude to join the surveying branch of the profession, 15 by permitting promotion to operate as freely in that as in other branches, such as that of gunnery and torpedo work?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
The Commander-in-Chief reports that the Sultan grounded on a patch of rocks unmarked on the chart and where deep water is shown. Whether this is due to defective survey or recent volcanic action cannot at present be stated. The Commander-in-Chief has been instructed to cause every inquiry to be made locally, from fishermen and others, as to any previous knowledge of the existence of these rocks. The channel where the accident occurred was surveyed in 1857 and 1860. The circumstances attending the stranding of the Sultan will be fully investigated by a Court Martial that will be held at Portsmouth under the presidency of the Commander-in-Chief at that port. The Admiralty fully recognize the valuable work done by the surveying officers, and it is their wish to encourage officers with an aptitude for this class of work to join that branch of the Service. The pay they get while surveying is considerably higher than that of other officers of their rank, and their claims for promotion are considered equally with those of their brother officers.