13. Mr. CATHCART WASON
asked whether the Plimsoll mark was raised and the freeboard of ships diminished by the Merchant Shipping Act, 1906; and whether the revision of the tables of free board under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, has had any effect of rendering ships less seaworthy?
The Merchant Shipping Act of 1906 did not deal with the question of load-line. Load-lines are assigned to ships in accordance with the tables of freeboard issued by the Board of Trade: and provision was made in Section 438 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, for the Board of Trade to modify these tables from time to time, having regard to representations from the classification societies. The latest revision was the result of exhaustive inquiry instituted, in 1905, by the Board of Trade in consultation with the classification societies, namely, Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping, Bureau Veritas, and the British Corporation for the Survey and Registry of Shipping. The new tables came into operation in March, 1906. For the six years prior to the revision the total number of vessels registered in the United Kingdom which foundered or were reported as missing, was 307. For the six years since the revision the total number was 240. These figures do not appear to indicate that the revision has rendered ships less seaworthy.
§ Mr. BARNES
In fixing up these tables in 1905, were representations made on behalf of the workmen, engineers, seamen, or others employed at sea?