HC Deb 19 February 1965 vol 706 cc1507-8
Mr. Prior

(by Private Notice) asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement on the Lowestoft trawler "Boston Pionair", missing since 15th February in the North Sea and now presumed lost with a crew of nine.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Roy Mason)

The owners of the "Boston Pionair" last heard from her by radio early on 14th February. They became disturbed when they received no further communication, and a full air and sea search was instituted early on 16th February. A lifeboat and a life raft from the ship have been recovered and I am afraid that all hope for her crew must be abandoned.

I am sure that the House will wish to join me in expressing our deepest sympathy with the relatives of all those who were on board.

Mr. Prior

May I join with the hon. Gentleman in his expression of sympathy with the relatives of these men? Is he aware that on this ship there were two brothers and a father and son and that the young skipper of 24 was commended for great gallantry in a sea rescue only three years ago? Is he also aware of the deplorable winter weather conditions since the start of the year experienced by fishermen? Is he further aware of our admiration of them for their gallantry and devotion to duty in these difficult conditions?

Mr. Mason

I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman and the House will know that this is the second time in a few days that I have had to report the loss of a trawler. This is due to the hazardous conditions under which many of these courageous men are working. I think it also right that we should pay tribute to the air-sea search and rescue units which have been very active in the past few days; the other trawler crews and their skippers; the Royal Air Force Shackle-tons and their crews and, on this occasion, a U.S. Air Force aircraft which stood by with a para-medic unit ready to go into operation if necessary.

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