HC Deb 16 March 1955 vol 538 cc1283-4
33. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is aware of the total loss recently of two British trawlers off the north coast of Iceland and of the circumstances in which this occurred; and if he will make a statement on the subject to this House.

The Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)

Yes, Sir. I have decided to order a formal investigation into this loss under the Merchant Shipping Acts. In these circumstances hon. Members will not expect me to comment further on this tragic occurrence.

Mr. Hughes

While thanking the Minister for that answer, may I ask him whether he is in a position to say yet whether anything could have been done to obviate this tragedy which was not done, and whether provision is being made for the dependants?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I would rather await the result of the inquiry before committing myself to comments on that subject.

Mr. Edward Evans

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the damaging misrepresentations that have been made public in various quarters as to the cause of the loss of the Lorella and Rodrigo? Is he aware of the rebuttal of those misrepresentations by the British Trawler Officers Guild, which has said that no blame attaches either to the Icelandic Government or to the conditions under which they sailed? Will the right hon. Gentleman give full publicity to this rebuttal?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The formal investigation which I have ordered will take place in public, and will, I have no shadow of doubt, bring out the true facts.

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