HC Deb 10 May 1923 vol 163 cc2580-1
Mr. T. JOHNSTON (by Private Notice)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has any further information regarding the sinking of the British India Company's s.s. "Okara," reported in the Press as having been lost with all hands; when this ship was last inspected, and if he is aware that letters written in the beginning of March by officers, have been received in this country declaring that the ship was in an unseaworthy condition; if some of the plates were only one-eighth of an inch in thickness, if holes could be knocked in them with a hammer, and if the lifeboats at boat station drill filled up with sea water; and if he will have a searching examination made into these allegations?

Lieut.-Colonel BUCKLEY (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

No further information about the sinking of the "Okara" has yet been received by the Board of Trade beyond what appears in the Press telegrams. If the hon. Member will forward to me the information he has received, I will have the matter looked into.


What is the system the Board of Trade adopts in order to know the thickness of a plate in reality, as against the corrosion?


May I have an answer to that part of my question where I asked when this ship was last inspected?

Lieut.-Colonel BUCKLEY

As far as I can understand from the records, it has not been inspected for many years, and it is many years since this ship sailed in home waters.


Does that mean that a ship sailing under the British Flag, with British citizens on board, has not been inspected for many years by any authority, either Indian or home?

Lieut.-Colonel BUCKLEY

Obviously, it has not been inspected by the home authorities, because it has not been home for many years.


Is there any authority in India examining these British vessels engaged in coastal traffic?


The hon. Member will, perhaps, put that question down for Monday. It cannot be answered without notice.