HC Deb 29 April 1913 vol 52 cc996-7
57. Mr. PETO

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of applicants for certificates who have failed to pass the new sight tests since they came into force on 1st April in London and Liverpool; whether he is satisfied that the test, which is supposed to represent luminosity of a ship's side lights three miles distant is so severe as to seriously reduce the number of available officers for the merchant service; and whether he proposes to take any steps in the matter?


From 1st April, when the new colour vision tests were instituted, until 22nd April, 138 candidates for certificates of competency were examined at London and Liverpool. One hundred and twenty-five of these passed the local tests, five were failed, and eight were referred for special examination at South Kensington. One who failed has not yet appealed, and one who was referred has not yet been specially examined. The remaining eleven have been specially examined, with the result that seven passed and four failed. The lights shown in the lantern test represent ships' side lights at a distance of one mile and not three miles, as stated in the question, and I see no occasion to take any steps in the matter.


Does that mean that nine officers of the merchant service, previously holding certificates, have been failed entirely owing to the new tests, and will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the lights are not shown as three miles instead of one mile although one mile is the minimum test of the Board of Trade?


Lights do represent a distance of one mile. That is how they are planned, and that is how they are worked. The number failed was not nine, but seven, and they were not officers previously holding certificates.

58. Mr. PETO

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will favourably consider the granting of compensation to those who have failed in the Board of Trade tests in colour and form vision and who at the time of their failure were already in possession of Board of Trade certificates of competency as master or mate, having previously been passed in the tests on presenting themselves for such certificates, and also, in some cases, prior to their entering upon a seafaring career?


I regret that I am unable to admit any claim for compensation in the cases referred to.


Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the right hon. Gentleman's reply and the urgency of the matter, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the question on the Motion for the Adjournment to-morrow.