HC Deb 17 December 1929 vol 233 cc1196-7

asked the President of the Board of Trade the names of the British representatives at the recent International Conference regarding the alteration of orders to helmsmen; what instructions were given to them before they left this country; and whether any attempt was made before they left to consult representative British opinion on the issue?


I am sending the hon. Member a list of the 14 representa- tives of the United Kingdom at the International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea held in London this year. The instructions left them a discretion as to their action on this proposal. Steps were taken before the Conference to ascertain the views of the interests concerned, but I am not prepared to state the nature of the instructions given to the Government delegates which in accordance with the usual practice must fidential.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the steamship "Avance" hit the breakwater when leaving port at Copenhagen recently in consequence of confusion about these new helm orders; and will he take such steps as will avoid the forcing on the British mercantile marine of orders which are entirely against their views?


I am not familiar with the facts of the individual case, but, as I have pointed out previously in replies to questions on this subject, the whole matter must come before Parliament in the form of a Bill, and there will be ample opportunity for consideration.