HC Deb 20 May 1930 vol 239 cc186-7
1. Mr. DAY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether all boats carried on ocean-going vessels undergo an inspection previous to these liners leaving British ports before each voyage; whether during this inspection the boats are put into water and tested; are there any regulations which call for the regular inspection of life-belts provided on all ocean-going liners; and will he give particulars?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. William Graham)

All ocean-going ships carrying more than 50 steerage passengers are inspected by a Board of Trade Surveyor before each voyage, and such boats are lowered and exercised as the Surveyor in his discretion considers necessary. Further, the whole of the life-saving appliances an all passenger steamers are surveyed by a Board of Trade Surveyor at least once a year. Any ship may be inspected at any time by a Board of Trade Surveyor. The Merchant Shipping Acts require, under heavy penalties, the life-saving appliances on all ships to be kept at all times fit and ready for use and the replacement of defective appliances at the first opportunity. This implies frequent examination of all the appliances, including lifebelts.


How often are these boats lowered in accordance' with the Board of Trade Inspector's request?


I could not say offhand. Perhaps my hon. Friend will give me notice.


What happens in the case of vessels carrying under 50 passengers? Are there special regulations?


I should require notice of that point also.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of the lifeboat appliances are thrown away in cupboards in a very bad state on some of these oceangoing vessels?


That, of course, is a matter for the surveyors. I have every reason to believe that this work is done with great efficiency.


Is there any evidence in support of the hon. Member's statement? It is a very serious one.


No. That is just the risk of putting these matters in supplementary questions. All the information at my disposal is that this work is very efficiently done.