HC Deb 24 May 1900 vol 83 cc1098-9
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the recent decision of the Judges of the Court of Appeal in the case of Her Majesty's ship "Sanspareil" and the "East Lothian," that the "East Lothian" was not in fault under the Statutory Regulations, because she was not under the statute, but was held under the common law guilty of improper navigation in crossing the front of a fleet so as to involve risk of collision, although the "Sanspareil" was held guilty of the greater fault of insufficient care to avoid the collision; and in view of the statement by one of the Judges as to the danger which would ensue, not only to such ships as they might meet but to the men-of-war in a squadron, if Her Majesty's ships were to be governed by the ordinary regulations, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty will communicate with the Board of Trade with the view to their issue of a circular to owners and masters of all merchant vessels, calling their attention to this judgment, and warning them of the danger they will incur in thus attempting to cross the front of a squadron, and pointing out their duty to slow down or stop until the squadron shall have passed on its course.

COLONEL DENNY (Kilmarnock Burghs)

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question I would like to ask, will the Admiralty issue an order requiring the leading ship of starboard line to fire a heavy gun at night, so as to warn approaching warships of other nations and merchant vessels that the green lights indicate a British squadron, which claims the right of way against all others?


I cannot answer the second question without notice. With regard to the question on the Paper, I have been in communication with the President of the Board of Trade with the object of ensuring greater prominence to the cautionary notice which is already published in the Board's monthly notices to mariners. I hope that the strong language used by the Judge on the appeal may not be without some influence on those concerned. I cannot answer the question of my hon. and gallant friend the Member for the Kilmarnock Burghs without notice.