HC Deb 09 November 1893 vol 18 cc534-5
SIR J. LENG (Dundee)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been directed to a recent case in which two Thames bargemen, in fear of a collision, jumped overboard and were drowned; whether he is aware that there are innumerable barges on the Thames without life-buoys or any other life-saving appliances; and whether he will bring the subject under the notice of the Thames Conservancy Commission, with a view to reasonable Regulations being framed for the safety of the bargemen?


I assume that the case to which my hon. Friend refers is that of the barge Tim. I stated, in reply to a question in the House on Monday, legal proceedings are being taken in that case, and I am, therefore, precluded from expressing any opinion with regard to it. Thames barges which proceed to sea are required to be provided with proper and sufficient life-saving appliances under the Act of 1888. I am informed by the Thames Conservancy that dumb barges are, generally speaking, not so provided; but the subject of gear and other appliances on such vessels has been brought under the consideration of the Conservators, and I am assured the matter is receiving their careful attention.


I bog to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that shipmasters navigating vessels on the Thames are held responsible for the infraction of Regulations of which they have never been informed; and whether any direct notification is given to shipmasters of the Regulations made by the Thames Conservancy Commission for the navigation of steamers; and, if not, whether he will bring the subject under the consideration of the Commissioners in order to secure such notification?


The Thames Conservancy inform me that they cannot admit that the shipmasters have not been informed of the bye-laws regulating the navigation of the Thames. I am assured that not only are such bye-laws fully advertised (as required by Statute) before they come into force, but that notices are put in the newspapers stating that copies are obtainable at the Conservators' Office, and that abstracts are exhibited at the piers and other places on the river. The Conservators have also, I understand, supplied free copies of such abstracts to pilots, masters of vessels, and others interested.