HC Deb 27 August 1895 vol 36 cc898-900
SIR GEORGE BADEN -POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, whether he proposes to take any steps to appoint, this Session, a Select Committee on the Rule of the Road at Sea (Fog Signals), in continuation of the Committee ap pointed last Session, with a view to a Report being made on the evidence then acquired; if this is not practicable, can he now state that no new regulations, altering the existing fog signals, will be promulgated until such a Committee has been appointed, and has reported on the said evidence; and, will it be possible, during the Recess, to have a statement drawn up summarising for, say the last 10 years, the ascertained causes of collisions at sea which took place in fog, falling snow, or heavy rain squalls?


I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, what course Her Majesty's Government propose to take with regard to the Select Committee on a portion of the Rule of the Road at Sea relating to sound signals, appointed on 25th March last, and which, after sitting till 3rd July last, separated without making any final Report; whether the Departmental Committee on another portion of the Rule of the Road at Sea, relating to the screening of side-lights, has yet reported; if not, when it is expected to report, and whether the Report and evidence will be laid upon the Table; and, whether any opportunity will be afforded either to this House or to shipowners and shipmasters of considering the Reports of these two Committees before any steps are taken by the Board of Trade to cause the issue of any Order in Council dealing with these two portions of the Rule of the Road at Sea?


Perhaps I may be allowed to answer the question of the hon. Member for King's Lynn at the same time. I regret to say that it has been found impossible, owing to the absence of Members of the Committee, to re-appoint the Committee referred to this Session. I hope, however, to be in a position to move the re-appointment at the earliest possible moment next Session. Meanwhile no Order in Council on the subject will be issued. I am informed that the Departmental Committee on the Screening of Side-lights expects to be able to Report before the end of the year. That Report and the Report of the Parliamentary Committee (if re-appointed) will be carefully considered before action is taken; but my hon. Friend will understand that it is impossible for me to come under the undertaking he asks before seeing the Reports in question. With regard to the causes of collisions, they will be found for each year in Table 61 of the Wreck Register.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would at least undertake not to issue Orders in Council with regard to these Rules when Parliament was not sitting and when attention could not consequently be called to the subject?


Until I see the Report of the Committee I cannot give any guarantee. The cause of the collisions are all set out in the Return, but if the hon. Member is not satisfied with the Return, I will endeavour to satisfy him.