HC Deb 05 March 1918 vol 103 cc1881-3

I cannot leave this subject of salvage without reminding the House that improved salvage arrangements entails the repair of larger numbers of damaged vessels, which in turn makes enormous demands upon labour and materials which would otherwise be devoted to new construction. Repairs are to-day occupying more men actually and of the higher skilled grades than is new merchant ship-building. The salving of damaged ships is now so efficient that out of all British-owned ships damaged in 1917 only eight have been abandoned, and these have been included in the published losses. At the present time the shipbuilding Department of the Controller is undertaking repairs to several times—probably four or five times— the number of merchant ships damaged by enemy action that were under repair in June of last year, and we have each month been returning to service an increasing tonnage of ships. Obviously this is to our advantage, as it is far more economical in men and material and time to repair than to build a new.