HC Deb 18 July 1898 vol 62 cc70-1
COLONEL SIB H. VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if, having regard to the fact that loss of life at sea is now more frequently due to collision and sudden foundering, as in the case of La Bourgogne, than to storms, any regulations are in force on British ships, or on ships seeking clearance from British ports, as to the hanging of the boats and exercise in launching them, or as to notices to passengers, sailors, firemen and stewards with regard to boat stations in case of alarm, and similarly with regard to life-belts, life-rafts, and other life-saving gear; and if obedience to such regulations is ever the subject of inspection by the Board of Trade?


My right honourable Friend the President of the Board of Trade has requested me to answer in his absence. The statutory rules and regulations under the Merchant Shipping Act require the boats and other life-saving appliances of all British ships to be kept so as to be at all times fit and ready for use, and in the case of passenger steamers such appliances are inspected, and the boat-lowering gear tested, by the Board of Trade Surveyors at each survey for renewal of the Passenger Certificate. In the case of emigrant ships, notices are posted in each compartment suggesting that crews should be assigned to the different boats, and that they should be exercised as opportunity arises. The Board of Trade officers also thoroughly inspect boats and all life-saving appliances while an emigrant ship is being fitted for a voyage; and, in addition, when clearing vessels exercise the men in lowering one or two boats with the proper crew assigned in each case—the boats selected for lowering and manning being varied at each inspection.