MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the new regulations for preventing collisions at sea, ordered by Order in Council to come into operation on 1st July next, have been submitted to and agreed to by all the Powers represented at the Washington Conference of 1889; and, if not, which Powers have failed or refused to agree to them; whether he is aware that the Merchant Service Guild, a representative body of merchant captains and officers in active service, have made a public protest against the enforcement of these new regulations as being calculated to lead to disasters; whether he has received any communications to this or to similar effect, either from the Merchant Shipping Guild, or from other bodies or persons connected with seafaring; and whether he proposes to take any notice of or any action with reference to the representations made against the new rules as being calculated to add to the dangers of the seas?
§ MR. RITCHIE
The regulations referred to by my hon. Friend have been submitted to all the Powers represented at the Washington Conference of 1889. All have agreed to them except one Power, from which no reply has yet been received, viz., Venezuela. I am quite aware of the attitude of the Merchant Service Guild on this question, and I have received communications from that and some other bodies to the effect stated in the Question, but having regard to the exhaustive manner in which this question has been discussed and considered, I am not prepared to depart in any way from the position taken up by Her Majesty's Government with the concurrence of the other Powers.