§ *SIR J. LENG (Dundee)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, 827 whether, in view of the loss of life conquent on the collision of a comparatively small trading steamer with the oceangoing passenger steamer Elbe, he has power, under existing legislation, to require that all vessels built under Board of Trade surveys shall have bulkheads and water-tight compartments in accordance with the recommendations of the Bulkheads Committee, 1891, so as to render them practically unsinkable by collision; and, if so, whether effect is now given in all cases to those recommendations?
The Board of Trade have no power under existing legislation to require any vessels to have bulkheads and water-tight compartments, but when vessels are divided into efficient water-tight compartments, in accordance with the recommendations of the Bulkheads Committee, 1891, they are exempted from carrying a part of the boats, rafts, and buoyant life-saving apparatus required by the Rules made under the Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances) Act, 1888.
§ MR. H. S. FOSTER (Suffolk, Lowestoft)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, whether he is now in a position to state what action the authorities of the Trinity House will take in reference to the wreck of the steamship Elbe, and the danger which it causes both to fishing property and to navigation; and, whether he is aware that on the 11th inst. the master of the Lowestoft smack Free Lance reported to the Custom House Authorities at Lowestoft that he had seen the masts of the Elbe projecting above the water, and that he had taken soundings and found the depth 17 fathoms, a depth at which the vessel would be a serious impediment to navigation in an upright position.
§ ME. BRYCE
I have not yet received any reply from the Trinity House, and therefore am not able to make any positive statement on the subject. I telegraphed this morning to the Lowestoft Superintendent of Customs, inquiring whether a report had been made as to the masts of the Elbe being seen above water in an upright position. I have just received this reply: "Master Free Lance reported one mast of Elbe seen above water." The Superintendent does not say whether this mast was in an 828 upright position. I am making further inquiry.