Mr. MARK SYKES
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government are aware that the Khedivial ss. "Saidieh," flying the British flag, fouled a hidden mine while entering Smyrna harbour on 3rd December; whether the ship in question was being piloted by a local pilot at the time; and what precautions are in future to be taken to safeguard British seamen and British ships against a recurrence of similar accidents?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir E. Grey)
His Majesty's Government are aware that the vessel entering Smyrna struck a mine, which did not explode. The vessel was under the escort of a pilot boat. His Majesty's Consul-General at Smyrna has entered a protest, and His Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople was at once instructed by telegraph to express the earnest hope of His Majesty's Government that every possible precaution would be taken in the interests of neutral shipping to prevent the recurrence of such accidents, and to emphasise the importance of employing efficient pilots at ports where mines have been placed.