HC Deb 14 October 1915 vol 74 cc1453-4
25 and 26. Mr. PETO

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether the Board of Trade has recently issued any official notice calling the attention of shipowners to the necessity of efficient signalling at sea, especially for the purpose of efficient inter-communication between naval and merchant ships; if not, whether, under the Defence of the Realm Acts or under any other powers exercisable by them, it can be made compulsory that mer- chant ships shall be provided by their owners with adequate and efficient signalling apparatus for Morse, semaphore, and flag signalling; and (2) whether the Board of Trade has recently issued an official notice to candidates at examinations of masters and mates drawing their attention to the question of signalling at sea and to the penalties involved under the Defence of the Realm Acts on failure to respond to signals made by His Majesty's ships and stating that officers of merchant ships should take every opportunity of perfecting themselves in both Morse and semaphore signaling; if so, whether the Board of Trade are aware that many merchant ships are not provided with the necessary apparatus for Morse, semaphore, and sometimes even flag signalling; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

I have been in communication with the principal shipowners' associations with regard to the importance of adequate signalling apparatus being carried on merchant ships, and the matter is engaging my attention. A notice, of which I am sending a copy to the hon. Member, has recently been issued drawing the attention of candidates for masters' and mates' certificates to the question of signalling.


Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to take any steps to see that the necessary signalling apparatus is provided in all our ships at present?


I am afraid I cannot add to the answer I have already given. We are in close communication with those interested in the subject.