HC Deb 13 April 1899 vol 69 cc978-9
MR. HOGAN () Tipperary

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has reason to believe that racing between rival passenger steamers running to and from the Channel Islands is of common occurrence; whether he has observed a statement of a lady passenger rescued from the wreck of the "Stella," that the late captain of that steamer said, in conversation, while running through a dense fog, that he would reach port if he had to break his neck to do it; and whether the Board of Trade possesses any powers that could be exercised in the direction of restraining captains of passenger steamers from habitually subordinating safety to speed?


I do not think I ought to be called upon to express any opinion on matters which will, no doubt, be examined into during the approaching inquiry, and I strongly deprecate charges implied or otherwise being made against any of those responsible for the navigation of the "Stella" prior to the public inquiry. The subordination of safety to speed, if proved to exist, would be an offence coming within the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act. May I express, on behalf of the Government, and, I feel sure, also of the House, our deep sympathy with those who have sustained such grievous bereavement by this lamentable disaster, and our profound admiration for the discipline and calmness which prevailed on board the ill-fated vessel, and for the heroic conduct of those who willingly sacrificed their own lives in order to secure the safety of others.

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