HC Deb 13 March 1907 vol 171 cc31-2

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the steamship "Berlin" was carrying bags of vegetable or animal oil and a vessel of an approved pattern for distributing it in the water in rough weather, as required by the provisions of The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894; if so, whether it was used for the purpose of saving lives after the wreck of the steamer; and what is the depth of water in the Hook of Holland harbour.


I beg also to ask the President of the Board of Trade in view of the recent wreck of the steamship "Berlin" at the Hook of Holland and the loss of many lives, will he consider the expediency of taking such action as may be necessary to require all steamers to be equipped with an apparatus or wave subduer for the distribution of oil on broken seas during stormy weather.

THE PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE, Carnarvon Boroughs)

I will reply to the hon. Member's Question and to that of my hon. friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty at the same time. As the House is aware, a formal investigation into the circumstance of the lamentable wreck of the "Berlin" has been ordered, and pending the result of that inquiry, I do not think it would be expedient for me to refer to any matters bearing on the case. The matters referred to in the Question are of a nature which might be considered at the inquiry.


Can the right hon. Gentleman state the depth of the water?


I am afraid I cannot.

MR. LYNCH (Yorkshire, W.R., Ripon)

Does the right hon. Gentleman possess any power to secure that approaches to harbours used in this cross-channel traffic shall be adapted to the steamers using them.


I have no power at all in foreign waters.