HC Deb 21 January 1897 vol 45 cc181-2

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the Irish Lights Board or the Board of Trade have made any, and if any, what provision for the widows and families of the men lost by the foundering of the Daunt's Book lightship Puffin in October last?

MR. W. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, with regard to the fact that the lightship Puffin was lost with all hands at her station, Daunt's Bock, on October 7th, 1890, and that, when being towed by the Princess Alexandra from Kingstown, after being two hours at sea, she was reported leaking, and was brought back to Kingstown for repairs, whether he is aware if any survey and report thereon was made to the Irish Lights Board after this occurrence; whether he can state if the survey of lightships under the management of the Irish Lights Board is similar to that to which trading vessels are subjected; whether the supply of boats to Irish lightships is according to the Board of Trade requirements; and, whether he will order a sworn public inquiry into the causes of this disaster?


in the absence of Mr. RITCHIE, said: The Commissioners of Irish Lights have applied to the Board of Trade for sanction to the payment of pensions to the widows, and gratuities to the children of the married members of the crew of the Daunt's Rock Lightship, and of pensions or gratuities to the unmarried. The grant of these allowances is governed by the terms of the Superannuation Acts, and the Board are at present making inquiries as to what would be awarded by the Treasury under these Acts in analogous cases in the Civil Service. My right hon. Friend has communicated with the Commissioners of Irish Lights, and is informed by them that the Puffin Lightship, a few hours after leaving Kingstown Harbour in tow of the Princess Alexandra, was brought back in consequence of a leak in the hawse-pipe above the water line. A report of the occurrence was made to the Commissioners, a survey held, and the eak repaired. Surveys of lightships are made by the qualified officers of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, and, in their opinion, are probably stricter than those to which trading vessels are subjected. The Board of Trade requirements as to boats are not applicable to lightships, but each Irish lightship carries two strong, seaworthy boats, 16 and 20 feet long, sufficient for the crew of eight men. The question of raising the wreck, which would be an expensive operation, is now under consideration. If the wreck is raised the Board of Trade will consider whether any useful purpose would be served by holding a public Inquiry.


asked if he was to understand that this provision would be of a permanent character.


thought it would have that character, but upon that subject it would be well the hon. Gentleman should address a question direct to the President of the Board of Trade.