HC Deb 25 February 1914 vol 58 cc1745-6

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty. whether his attention has been drawn to the wreck that recently occurred off Shoreham Harbour, in Sussex, when the captain alone was rescued by the action of three men from Southwick; whether he is aware that the wreck was not observed by the Coastguards; whether he will state what arrangements exist for watching this part of the coast; and, seeing that this is not the first occasion when disasters have occurred here without observation, whether he will see that adequate arrangements for observations are made for the future?


I presume the hon. Member refers to the case of the steamship "Miown." The lights of that vessel were observed by the Coastguard at Southwick between 2 and 3 a.m. I understand that at about 3 a.m. the green light disappeared and the white light remained burning, from which it was assumed that the vessel had anchored. The weather being hazy, it was not until 7.15 a.m. that there was sufficient light to enable the vessel to be distinguished as a wreck. The wreck was also observed at daylight by the crew of Kingston-on-Sea Coastguard Station. No distress or sound signals were made by the vessel. The crew of Southwick Coastguard Station consists of five ratings, and that at Kingston-on-Sea of six; every part of the coast between the limits of the stations is patrolled and visited once in twenty-four hours, and constant day and night watch is kept at the watch-rooms and from the beach when the station officer considers the weather sufficiently bad. In the light of what I have stated, I do not think that there is any evidence to show that the watching arrangements are not adequate.