HC Deb 29 April 1965 vol 711 c605
8. Mr. van Straubenzee

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his technical and legal representatives were present at the adjourned hearing of the inquiry into the "Lakonia" disaster in Athens on 8th March; and whether their report is yet available.

Mr. Mason

Yes, Sir. Legal and technical experts represented Her Majesty's Government in March as on earlier occasions, and have reported to the Board of Trade on the progress of the inquiry.

Mr. van Straubenzee

I thank the Minister for that reply. Can he give the House any indication when he expects the report of the inquiry will be made known to this country, in view of the fact that a large number of British passengers were on board this vessel and that the accident took place getting on for a year and a half ago?

Mr. Mason

Some time in the summer.

Mr. Shinwell

Arising out of this affair, has not my hon. Friend reached the conclusion that passenger ships engaged on cruises, and picking up British passengers at British ports, should be carefully examined to ascertain whether they are seaworthy?

Mr. Mason

No doubt a lot of this will be examined during the course of the inquiry.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Does that mean that this report will be published? If not, what other action will the Minister take?

Mr. Mason

The Board of Trade—and, in particular, myself—is not free to comment on the progress of the inquiries so far, as under Greek law all these inquiries are private, not public. So we have to await publication of the report before I can make any further comment.