HC Deb 16 May 1892 vol 4 cc944-5
SIR E. BIRKBECK (Norfolk, E.)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the iron ss. Emily was wrecked on Brigg's Reef, off Groomsport, County Down, in 1889, and that, in the event of a wreck taking place on the same shoal, the local committee, the coxswains, and crew of the Groomsport Lifeboat consider the wreck of the Emily would be a source of great danger to the lifeboat's crew, especially at night; and whether, notwithstanding the fact that the Commissioners of Irish Lights do not consider the wreck dangerous for the lifeboat, he will give directions to have it forthwith removed; and, if not, whether he will state the grounds on which the Commissioners arrived at their decision?


Under the Acts for the removal of wrecks in the way of lifeboat service the Board of Trade can only deal with recommendations made by a general Lighthouse Authority. In the case referred to by my hon. Friend no such recommendation has been made to me, and the Commissioners of Irish Lights inform me that after consideration of a Report made by their Inspector of Lights, who had previously made a careful examination of the position of the Emily, they were led to the opinion that the wreck did not constitute a danger to the lifeboat service, the lifeboat station being three-quarters of a mile from the wreck, and it being therefore questionable whether it could be considered a hindrance or an obstacle to the launching of the lifeboat. The Commissioners say further that Brigg's Reef is marked by a first-class conical buoy, moored one-third of a cable from its northern extremity; and having regard to the great extent to which the reef is embayed, they consider there is only a very remote probability of another vessel becoming stranded on the same rock.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will have further inquiry made and ascertain whether it is not a fact that the lifeboat crew could not go out to the relief of a vessel in distress at night on this reef in consequence of the extreme danger to the lifeboat from this wreck?


If that is a fact it should be brought before the Lighthouse Authorities. It is not my business to suggest expenditure in such matters—it is the duty of the Lighthouse Authorities.