§ MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he can state the exact date when sanction was given by his Department for a change in the load line; by whom such change was asked for, and as to the total amount of additional tonnage vessels have been enabled to carry through such concession; and, further, as to whether it is the intention of the Government to give the House an opportunity to further consider the matter.
THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE (Sir H. KEARLKY,) Devonport
The revised load line tables were sanctioned by the Board of Trade on 1st March, 1906. It is not possible to give any reliable estimate of the amount of additional tonnage that vessels have been enabled to carry owing to the change. The revision was made after prolonged inquiries and consideration by the Board of Trade in conjunction with Lloyd's Register, the British Corporation and Bureau Veritas, the three assigning bodies. My right hon. friend does not think any necessity has arisen for giving the House a special opportunity of considering the matter, but will be pleased to give the hon. Member any information in his power with regard to it.
§ MR. SUMMERBELL
Would it be right to assume that tins change was initiated by the President without consideration of the views held by his predecessor in office?
§ *SIR H. KEARLEY
On the contrary, the arrangements for the change were commenced under the late Government.
§ MR. HOLT (Northumberland, Hexham)
Is there any evidence forthcoming that any ship has been put in peril by the alteration?
§ MR. JOYCE (Limerick)
asked whether the change in the load line was not made behind the back of Parliament.
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE
Have any complaints been received from officers of vessels or other responsible persons as to danger arising from the new load line? Is the Department aware that several engineers have been imprisoned for refusing to go to sea in ships in which the load line had been altered?