HC Deb 25 March 1935 vol 299 cc1579-80
34. Sir B. PETO

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the recent experience of the steamer "Arcwear," in exceptionally heavy weather, when the safety of the ship was attributed entirely to the fact that the hatches were covered with steel casing; and whether, in view of the successive losses of the steamships "Saxilby," "Millpool," "Us-worth," "Blairgowrie," and "La Crescenta," he will institute an inquiry into the loss of these ships and consider the question of making the steel casing of large hatchways compulsory in all ships trading in the North Atlantic and other waters where heavy seas are normally encountered?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The extent to which recent casualties have been due to failures of hatches will no doubt be brought out in the reports of the formal inquiries, and these reports and any other relevant information will certainly be fully considered.


Has the hon. Gentleman had his attention called to the resolution passed at the annual meeting of the Imperial Merchant Service Guild asking for a special inquiry, particularly with a view to the provision of steel-cased hatchways in future for the North Atlantic trade?


Perhaps the question of the provision of steel-cased hatchways can best be raised in to-morrow's Debate when the subject of some of these recent casualties is to be fully discussed.


Will the hon. Gentleman call the attention of shipowners to the special merits of the Sunderland built ship?