HC Deb 05 May 1899 vol 70 cc1418-9
MR. HAVELOCK WILSON (Middlesbrough)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been directed to the evidence given in the action of the owners of the steamship "Moorish Prince," against the owners of the steamship "Bencroy," which vessels were in collision on 13th March in the North Sea, from which it appears that the man on the look-out on the steamship "Moorish Prince" was a Creek, and that the man at the wheel at the time of the collision was an Austrian, neither could speak English, and that their evidence had to be given before Mr. Justice Barnes through interpreters; and whether he will propose any remedy, by legislation or otherwise, to this state of things?


Yes, Sir; my attention has been called to the case referred to by the honourable Member, and although I am informed that the facts are as stated in the Question, I am advised that it was made clear in the course of the recent legal proceedings, that the report by the look-out was properly given, and that the helmsman understood and carried out his orders. The concluding words of the judgment in the Admiralty Court were as follows— It seems to me that the defendants have not established that there has been any fault in the navigation of the 'Moorish Prince,' and the 'Bencroy' must be held alone to blame. I find that there was no improper porting on the part of the 'Moorish Prince.'

As at present advised, I am not prepared to propose legislation on the subject.