HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 c902
6. Mr. John Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many missing persons have been reported from the liners "Southern Cross" and "Northern Star" during the period January, 1970 to June, 1971.

Mr. Anthony Grant

During the period January, 1970, to June, 1971, three persons were reported missing from the "Southern Cross" and one from the "Northern Star".

Mr. Hannam

I thank my hon. Friend very much for that reply, and also for the attention he has given to the case of a constituent. Does not my hon. Friend consider this to be a rather alarming number of cases to arise from two sister cruise ships? Does he consider that the present system of inquiry into deaths at sea is working satisfactorily? Will he not consider reopening the inquiry into this instance?

Mr. Grant

I do not think that there is power to reopen inquiries. As to any coincidence between these two ships, it would be wrong to draw any conclusions. These were, as I understand it, different types of accident occurring in different circumstances at different times. The system by which we investigate these accidents can be improved, and this will be done when regulations are laid before the House as a result of the recent Merchant Shipping Act.