§ 3. Sir ROBERT THOMAS
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that, owing to the almost entire lack of inspection of ships sailing from Argentine ports, serious overloading is habitually practised by non-British owners; and whether, in view of the handicap which this imposes upon British shipowners, he will, in pursuance of the Government's policy of promoting international uniformity upon the question of load lines, open conversations with the Argentine Government on this matter?
Overloading is said to take place at River Plate ports, but no definite particulars are available as to the extent of the overloading or the nationality of the ships concerned. My attention has been drawn, to a statement that the Argentine Government have issued an order on the subject of load lines, and I am making inquiries about this. When we hear, I will let the hon. Gentleman know.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that this does not apply to British ships, and that it applies only to foreign ships? My point is, as the hon. Gentleman is aware, that it is such an injustice to British shippers, and will he not, having regard to the seriousness of the matter, as it affects British shipping, make strenuous inquiries into the question?
That is just the point. It is not yet certain whether British ships are not involved also. That is why I am making inquiries.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
That is rather a serious insinuation for the hon. Gentleman to make, and will he clear British shipowners on that point as soon as he Can?