HC Deb 28 March 1899 vol 69 c633
MR. D. SULLIVAN (Westmeath, S.)

On behalf of the hon. Member for North Louth I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, will he inquire if in the case of 27 coal vessels entering the port of Dundalk since June, carrying 9,987 tons cargo, the registered tonnage according to the Board of Trade surveyor was only 2,756 tons; is he aware that under this system of measurement the Irish port authorities find themselves deprived of sufficient dues to maintain an efficient service; and, do the Government intend to take any step to re-adjust the system of registration?


I have no doubt, from inquiries I have had made, that 27 vessels could be selected from those entering Dundalk since June last, whose registered tonnage and the weight of cargo carried by which would correspond with those given in the question. But registered tonnage has no fixed relation to dead weight capacity, and I am not aware that the effect of the present system is to prevent port authorities in Ireland or elsewhere from maintaining an efficient service. The question of tonnage measurement was exhaustively inquired into by a Royal Commission which reported in 1881; and the latest Statute regulating it (now incorporated in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894) was passed in 1889. As at present advised, I am not prepared to propose fresh legislation on the subject.