MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has now received a document, dated 31st January, 1893, signed by 143 Trinity House pilots of the Port of London, protesting against the new system of so screening ships' side-lights as to make them squint across the ship's bow, as being misleading and dangerous; whether he has received a letter, dated 14th February, 1893, from the Liverpool Steamship Owners' Association, objecting to the new system, and urging the suspension of the Order in Council until the concurrence of Foreign Powers has been obtained; whether he has received a communication, also objecting to the new system, from the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom; whether he is aware of the consensus of opinion adverse to the new system expressed by the organs in the Press of the shipping interests; and whether, under these circumstances, he still adheres to his determination not to re-consider or suspend the operation of the Order in Council whereby the new system is imposed?
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I have received the communications from the Liverpool Steamship Owners' Association and the Chamber of Shipping, together with what purports to be a copy of the document signed by the pilots. I cannot undertake to estimate the extent of Press opinions in the matter. I have seen expressions of opinion both for and against the Order. As already explained by me, in answer to previous questions, the Order in Council makes no new regulation, but interprets existing regulations framed in the interests of safe navigation, and there is no sufficient reason for suspending its operation. The instructions as to screening of sidelights was issued on the 14th August, 1889, since which date it has been generally adopted throughout the British Mercantile Marine. The Order in Council explaining the rule was passed in the interest of British shipowners.