§ 34. Mr. COCHRANE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shipping Controller whether his attention has been called to the case of a large steamer laden with sugar which arrived at a port on the North-East coast on the 15th October about 9 p.m. and was ordered out to sea again next morning, where she remained for six hours in a danger zone before receiving orders to proceed to another port; whether this vessel had been in other ports since arrival in home waters; and, if the facts are as stated, what action he proposes to take to avoid the repetition of a similar occurrence?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of SHIPPING (Sir L. Chiozza Money)
I have made careful inquiry into the case to which my hon. Friend refers. The vessel in question had proceeded to a port on the North-East coast in accordance with Admiralty orders designed for security, which had also made it necessary for her to call at another British port. She was ordered to sea next morning to await escort to her port of discharge, and, owing to unfavourable weather conditions, her escort was a little late in arrival. The Admiralty Report shows, however, that she was adequately guarded while awaiting escort. It is difficult for me to give a fuller answer here, but I shall be pleased to show the detailed reports to my hon. Friend, and I thank him for calling my attention to the case.
§ Mr. COCHRANE
May I ask whether, when similar circumstances arise, and a convoy is necessarily late, it would not be possible for the commander of the convoy to communicate by wireless with the nearest shore station, so as to prevent the vessel being exposed in the danger zone, where several valuable ships have already been put down for a period of 6½ hours?
§ Sir L. CHIOZZA MONEY
I agree with my hon. Friend that it would have been better if the ship had remained in port instead of coming out and waiting unnecessarily outside. Note has been taken of the error in that particular matter; that is why I have thanked my hon. Friend for having called my attention to the fact.