HC Deb 22 April 1941 vol 371 cc7-8
10. Mr. R. J. Taylor

asked the Minister of Shipping whether he is aware that the proposal to close the shelter-deck of open shelter-deck vessels will, because of added weight, weaken their structure and increase strain; that the resulting deeper immersion of the ships will lead to greater deck damage in bad weather, and their speed will be reduced; and what steps he is taking to prevent the crews of the vessels concerned being exposed to greater risks of injury and loss of life?

Major Dugdale(Lord of the Treasury)

I have been asked to reply. The decision to close the shelter decks of open shelter-deck vessels and to have the load lines reassigned will apply only where the resulting increase in draught is warranted by the condition of the ship's structure and will not be prejudicial to the seaworthiness of the ship. Due regard will be had in each case to the probable effect of increased draught on the speed of the ship. The increase in draught allowed in any case will not under present arrangements exceed twelve inches, and the increased draught will be used with discretion in exceptional trades and under exceptional conditions. I hope this information will dispel such apprehensions as are indicated in the hon. Member's Question.

Mr. Taylor

In view of the fact that the speed of a ship may be altered and that there is a greater likelihood of damage being done in heavy weather if it is low in the water, will the Minister see that the greatest care is taken before these open shelter-deck vessels are altered?

Major Dugdale

I understand that my right hon. Friend has in mind all those points.