HC Deb 15 February 1894 vol 21 cc468-9
MR. MACDONA (Southwark, Rotherhithe)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that H.M.S. Buzzard, when recently sailing from Bermuda to Barbados, had a very narrow escape from collision with a floating derelict, a brig floating bottom upwards with her keel above water; and that Commander Browne, of the Buzzard, opened fire and endeavoured to sink this derelict, but it was left still buoyant and a floating danger to other ships; and in view of what might occur if a vessel came into collision with the wreck at night, the Government intend to take any course to destroy the derelict?


The Admiralty have no knowledge of the incident which the hon. Gentleman's question relates. Whenever a derelict is found by one of Her Majesty's ships at sea she is bound under the following Admiralty Regulation to use her best endeavours to destroy it:— Should any of Her Majesty's ships fall in with any waterlogged vessel abandoned at sea, and constituting a danger to navigation, the same should be examined, and unless it appear that the cargo is composed of such large baulks of timber as to be of themselves a danger, if released to float, or unless the position of the wreck is such as to make it probable that she may be presently towed into port, every effort should be made to sink or otherwise to destroy her.


Are not derelicts which may be left to be towed into port an equal source of danger to our sailors?


The Regulation I have read simply contemplates the destruction of derelicts which could not be towed into port.