HC Deb 01 February 1897 vol 45 cc904-5
MR. VICAR GIBBS (Herts, St. Albans)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War (1) whether it has been brought to his knowledge that the Union Steamship Spartan. which left Southampton on the 15th December last, carrying troops to the Cape, was insufficiently ballasted, and consequently rolled to a dangerous point, namely 40 degeres; and (2) whose duty it is to ascertain that vessels carrying troops are properly ballasted?


The answer to the first paragraph of the Question is in the negative. The Spartan left England with 1,650 tons of coal on hoard and 847 tons of cargo, besides 500 troops and their baggage. After passing Finisterre she encountered a severe gale and heavy sea, which caused her to roll considerably and induced the Master to lie to for 12 hours until the gale abated, a not unusual incident at this season of the year. The rolling was in no way due, to insufficient ballasting, and the ship is reported to have sailed in exceptionally good trim, having in addition to the cargo and coal, 731 tons of water and permanent ballast. As regards the second paragraph, the Admiralty assume the same responsibility in respect of the ballasting of Troop Transports and Troop Freight Ships as devolves on the Board of Trade in the case of Emigrant Ships.