HC Deb 02 March 1893 vol 9 c812
DR. CLARK (Caithness)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that in consequence of a storm on Tuesday evening the fishing fleet north of the Moray Firth was scattered, some of the fishing boats having foundered with loss of all on board, and others missing; whether the gunboat on the station did nothing to assist the fleet, and only, began to act after receiving telegrams from the Convener of the County of Caithness and the Provost of Wick; and whether he will explain on what grounds, when the gunboat came to Wick on Sunday to assist in the search for the missing boats, the commander refused the aid of the local fishermen to assist him in the search?


In reply to the hon. Member, I am informed that the Watchful gunboat arrived at Cromarty on the 14th instant (Tuesday) passing several boats making for Cromarty in no distress. On the 18th the commanding officer of the Watchful received a telegram from the Provost of Wick saying one was missing, and he sailed immediately in search. The Watchful reached Wick on the 19th; fishermen came off and directed the commanding officer in which way to search. He acted on their directions; but unfortunately could find nothing. This intelligence comes through the Admiralty, and is confirmed by independent telegrams from the Fishery Board.


I beg to give notice that on either the Naval Estimates or that for the Fishery Board I shall move the reduction of the salary of the captain of the Watchful.