§ 28. Lord CHARLES BERESFORD
asked whether, since the loss of His Majesty's ships "Viknor" and "Clan Macnaughton," there is a doubt as to the seaworthiness of similar ships being employed as armed cruisers, notably when the bunkers become empty; whether the Admiralty can see their way to give these ships more ballast, there being no cargo; and whether mounting guns on the upper deck under these circumstances renders this class of ship top-heavy?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
In the case of each vessel taken up and fitted as an armed merchant cruiser, the most careful attention has been paid to the loading and stability of the vessel. Actual stability tests have been carried out in all necessary cases, and instructions have been issued to the commanding officers of the vessels as to the extent to which they might be loaded and the precautions to be observed in working out the coal. In cases in which investigations showed it to be necessary, ballast was added, and in all cases, having regard to these instructions, the Admiralty are satisfied as to the lading of the vessels and as to their stability in all conditions of lading. The armaments carried by the ships are very light in comparison with the size of the vessels, and the weights added in this respect were fully taken into account when their stability was investigated and the instructions issued. None of the vessels when taken over were new, and all of them had been employed on their merchant cruises. The mounting of the guns has not rendered the vessels top-heavy, and no further ballast for stability purposes is necessary.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The "Clan Macnaughton" carried six lifeboats as well as four other boats, the total carrying capacity of which was sufficient for all on board. She was further supplied with a large number of lifebelts, and two life rafts each capable of supporting fifty men.