§ MR. CHARLES McARTHUR (Liverpool, Exchange)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will state the day and hour on which the Kish Bank lightship was sunk; the day and hour on which a relief vessel was placed on the station; the cause of the delay, if any, in so doing; and the reason why the Board of Trade have not held an inquiry into the circumstances of the sinking of the ship.
(Answered by Mr. Gerald Balfour.) I am informed by the Commissioners of Irish Lights that the lightship on the Kish Bank was sunk on the 8th September, 1902, at 5 p.m., and was replaced by another in the afternoon of the following day, the light being exhibited that night. There was no avoidable delay. It is not usual to institute a formal investigation under the Merchant Shipping Act in a case likely to be heard in the Admiralty Court, and the Board of Trade were not prepared to incur the expense of detaining witnesses for inquiry until the end of the protracted negotiations, which resulted in an admission of liability on the part of the owners of the vessel which ran into the lightship.