§ 17. Mr. Shinwell
asked the Minister of Shipping whether he can state the reason why the steamship "Waban," recently purchased from the United States of America, is now at Bermuda; what are the nature of the repairs required; what was the price paid per gross ton for the vessel; and if he is satisfied that good value was obtained?
§ The Minister of Shipping (Mr. Cross)
This vessel called at Bermuda to effect certain minor repairs to her boilers and machinery and has since arrived in this country. I am satisfied that good value was obtained in the purchase of the ship, but it would not be in the public interest to disclose the price paid.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Can the hon. Gentleman say why it was that this ship, which had only recently been purchased in the United States, was detained at Bermuda for three weeks undergoing repairs; and is it desirable to purchase vessels at a high rate such as was paid for this vessel when they are not in a seaworthy condition?
§ Mr. Cross
I cannot agree that the ship was not in a seaworthy condition or that it was purchased at a high rate. On the contrary, it was a good bargain. The hon. Member asked me why this ship was detained for a period, which he has exaggerated. There should have been no defects in the ship in view of the survey which she had undergone at the hands of the American Bureau of Shipping. Unfortunately, apparently there were certain minor defects which were not detected.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Surely the hon. Gentleman does not suggest to the House that 50 dollars per gross ton is a satisfactory rate for a vessel of this class?