HC Deb 21 March 1898 vol 55 cc394-5
MR. J. MACDONA (Southwark, Rotherhithe)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been directed to the fact that the American line s.s. Belgenland reported at Cork on the 15th instant having passed on the 14th instant (one day's sail only from Cork) a sailing vessel's mast standing upright with rigging attached to it about six or eight feet out of water, indicating a floating submerged wreck attached thereto, and that this obstruction constituted a grave danger to ocean-going steamers, being in the midst of their course between here and America; and whether, its being situated within one day's sail of the coast of Ireland, he will direct the Trinity Board to send out their steamer to search for it, and attach to it a gas-buoy, so as to warn sailing vessels and steamers of its dangerous proximity?


It appears, from the report in the Shipping Gazette, that the wreck complained of was seen in Latitude 50.17 North, Longitude 19.49 West, which would be about 430 miles from the coast of Ireland. The authority to deal with obstructions or dangers to navigation off the coast of Ireland would be the Irish Lights Commissioners, not the Trinity House, but it is no part of the business of the Commissioners to search for wrecks at such a distance from the coast, nor are their vessels adapted for the purpose. I am advised that it would not be practicable to effectually mark the wreck with a gas-buoy, even if the wreck were found. The buoy itself would be a danger to navigation when the light went out.