HC Deb 13 March 1913 vol 50 cc416-7
65. Mr. KING

asked whether a vessel has been chartered to cruise in the North Atlantic to look out for floating ice and warn shipping of dangerous floes and icebergs; whether this vessel is fitted with wireless telegraphy; and what part of the direction and expenses of this vessel is being borne by the Board of Trade and the shipping firms, respectively?


The "Scotia," a whaler formerly employed on the Scottish Antarctic Expedition, has been chartered to cruise in the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador to watch the break up of the ice, and to report its movement, so as to give warning as to the probable quantity of ice which will be in the vicinity of the track of the Atlantic steamships at a given time, and to give any information which will assist the lines to form a judgment as to the advisability of giving instructions for the greater safety of their vessels. The "Scotia" is fitted with long range wireless telegraphy, so that she will be able to keep in touch with the wireless stations in Newfoundland and Labrador. The "Scotia" has been sent out as a result of a recommendation made by the Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee in their Report on Life Saving at sea. The cost of the expedition is being shared equally by the Board of Trade and the principal North Atlantic Steamship Lines. The vessel carries a staff of three scientific observers, namely, a hydrographer, meteorologist, and biologist, who will be able, as the vessel would be from time to time stationary, to make observations as to currents, etc., which will be of general scientific interest, as well as of direct value to the work in hand. The master's sailing directions have been given to him by the Board of Trade, which also controls the scientific staff. The actual equipment of the vessel has been undertaken by the steamship lines. The wireless apparatus is provided free of charge by the Marconi Company, and Dr. Assmann, Director of the Royal Prussian Aeronautical Observatory at Lindenburg, has made a valuable contribution to the scientific equipment of the "Scotia" by providing a number of kites for meteorological work, with instruments to be attached to these kites for recording air pressure, temperature, relative humidity and wind velocity. The "Scotia" sailed from Dundee on 8th March, and will be absent three or four months.

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