MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade were the Board of Trade advisory circulars of April, 1897, and July, 1900, whereby British mariners are warned that when single ships are approaching a squadron of warships so as to involve risk of a collision, it would be in the interests of safety to keep out of the way of, and avoid passing through, a squadron; do the notices apply to a single ship authorised and enjoined by the rule of the road at sea to hold her course, and do they advise her not to do that in this case; is the rule as to keeping out of the way different for a single ship in a squadron from that for a single ship not in a squadron; and, if not, will the Board of Trade communicate with the Admiralty in order to remove any misunderstanding, and will it issue a further notice to make it clear that the rule of the road at sea applies to all ships alike, whether in squadron or not.
(Answered by Mr. Gerald Balfour.) (1.) The notices are advisory, and their object is to induce masters of British ships to keep so far from squadrons as to avoid all possibility of collision. (2,) The notices do not in any way alter or modify the regulations, which must be adhered to in any case, in which ships approach each other so as to involve any risk of collision. (3.) The Board of Trade understand that the Admiralty concur in this interpretation of the notice, and they do not think it necessary to take further action.