HC Deb 31 March 1910 vol 15 cc1462-3

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the United States authorities have vessels specially constructed for the purpose of destroying derelicts both on the Pacific and on the Atlantic, and that those vessels have done good service in protecting commerce and saving life; and whether the British Government, as representing the greatest maritime interest in the world, intend to do anything to assist in this work?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Buxton)

I am aware that about a year ago the Government of the United States constructed a special derelict destroyer, but I do not know whether this has been followed by others or what measure of success it has met with. As regards this country, I can only repeat what was stated by my predecessor in reply to a similar question on 15th October, 1908, namely, that the subject of floating derelicts was very fully considered by a Committee in 1894; that this Committee, reported that the danger of collision with derelicts in the open sea was very small, and the chance of discovering such derelicts infinitesimal; that the destruction of certain classes of derelicts, when found, was a work of great difficulty, and might create additional dangers, while the cost of such an undertaking would be out of all proportion to any possible benefit. Having regard to this Report, I am not prepared to recommend the fitting-out of a vessel for the destruction of derelicts.