§ 68. Mr. WHELER
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the floating dock on the Medway was towed to its moorings by four tugs of a foreign firm; and whether the Admiralty or Admiralty contractors possess tugs capable of carrying out this class of work?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara)
The Medway Floating Dock was towed from the works of the builders, Messrs. Swan, Hunter, to its berth on the Medway by four tugs of a foreign firm. That procedure was adopted by the firm under the terms of the contract. I assume that the contractors themselves did not possess tugs capable of carrying out this class of work. Admiralty tugs are not designed for this class of work. In the case of necessity, no doubt, they could be utilised for towing the floating dock, but that would mean the withdrawal of several of the large Admiralty tugs, with a consequent dislocation of the normal work of the ports to which they are attached.
§ Mr. WHELER
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that these foreign tugs collided with other vessels coming in, and that if local tugs had been employed to do the work this would have been avoided?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I am not aware of the fact stated in the earlier part of the 209 question, and I cannot say whether the contention put forward in the latter part would have arisen.
Mr. FRED HALL
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware it is recognised a London firm could do this work as well as a foreign firm?
§ Mr. WHELER
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Admiralty tugs, whatever there were, belonging to the port, had to be called in to help the foreign tugs?