HC Deb 02 June 1959 vol 606 cc14-5
19. Sir J. Henderson-Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what conclusions he has formed on the findings of the inquiry into the loss of the fishing cruiser "Freya"; and what steps he is considering to secure greater safety and range of stability in this type of vessel.

Mr. Maclay

I have considered the findings of the fatal accident inquiry. The jury found no evidence of negligence or fault on the part of the Captain, officers and crew, and highly commended the courage and efficient conduct of the chief officer, Mr. Coull. There was no finding that "Freya" was an unsafe or unseaworthy ship and, indeed, I understand the expert evidence was to the contrary. I have accepted so far as my Department's ships are concerned the recommendation which the jury added to their verdict that the authorities should consider steps to increase the range of stability of any similar ships or otherwise to render them more safe, and I am in touch with the builders and the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation as to which ships should be modified and in what way.

Sir J. Henderson-Stewart

I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply. Does it mean that in due course, say, in six months or a year from now, it may be possible to have further information on this matter, because undoubtedly there is a feeling of anxiety in some circles about the fact that this kind of boat should have been destroyed in the way it was?

Mr. Maclay

Obviously continuous inquiry will go on, and we shall learn more as we consider proposals for improving the stability factor of our existing ships.