HC Deb 24 July 1935 vol 304 cc1836-7
48. Vice-Admiral CAMPBELL

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will arrange for a representative of the various officers' associations to be added to the committee of inquiry into steering gear on merchant ships?


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the vital importance of the subject to masters and officers of the mercantile marine, he will add a member representing the officers' organisations to the committee which is to investigate and report on steering gear in British ships in connection with the inquiry into the loss of the steamship "Blairgowrie" and steamship "Usworth"?


The members of this Committee have all been selected on individual grounds to deal with a technical problem, and I do not consider that the suggested addition to the Committee is necessary. I hope that the organisations in question will assist the Committee by tendering evidence. I would add that officers' experience is represented on the Committee by Captain Thomas, who has much practical knowledge of the type of gear in question and is also experienced in North Atlantic voyages.

Vice-Admiral CAMPBELL

Is it not a fact that Captain Thomas is a marine superintendent and is, therefore, representative of the owners more than of masters and officers, and is he aware that the Seamen's Union is represented on this Committee; and, if the Seamen's Union is represented, is there any reason why the officers' associations should not be represented as well?


Captain Thomas was invited to serve on this Committee because of his knowledge as a sailor, in the same way as Mr. Spence, who is there not to represent the National Union of Seamen, but because of his experience at sea, which we thought would be useful to the Committee. The same applies to Captain Thomas, who is also an old sailor.


Can my right hon. Friend say why the practice has become quite common now, when any Committee of this kind is appointed, to put somebody on to represent the workmen's organisations, and why the organisations representing the masters and officers of the merchant service, who are responsible for the safety of these ships, should be constantly neglected in this way?