§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
§ *LORD SUDELEY
I have to ask your Lordships to give a Second Reading to this Bill. Its object is very simple, that is to say, to slightly amend the Act of 1882. Under Clause 2 it gives a certain larger power to the Board of Trade, but I understand that Department has no objection to undertake that additional duty. In Clause 4 of the Act of 1882 the Board of Trade, who undertook the duty, were not to undertake it in respect of the Coal Mines Regulation Act and the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act, which were worked under the Home Office; but the arrangement under the Board of Trade has worked so well that the working of those two other Acts has also been placed under them as far as boiler explosions are concerned. Then, under Clause 3 there is an alteration made as to what passed under the Act of 1882. Under the Act of 1882 if a boiler explosion occurred at sea it would have been necessary to make the report to the Board of Trade within 24 hours after the explosion. It is perfectly clear that could not be done in every case, because often it is some weeks before a ship arrives in harbour. This provision is, therefore, to extend the time, by stating "or as soon afterwards as possible." With those alterations in the Bill I beg to move the Second Reading.
§ Moved,"That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Sudeley.)
*LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I do not rise to offer any objection to the Second Reading, but only to point out that, though the exemption with regard 1048 to steamships in the Act of 1882 is repealed, there is no direct enactment, that I can see in regard to the notices which are necessary to be given under certain circumstances. I hope the noble Lord will himself, or by consultation with the promoters of the Bill, consent to put in an Amendment for giving the statutory notice required. There is one other matter of rather more importance, which I hope will receive his attention and consideration. A recent case has occurred which had reference to an explosion on board a small steamboat engaged in fishing, which has shown the Board of Trade that there is no statutory power to compel the owner or his servants to give evidence in such case. We get notice of the explosion, but we get no real information as to how and why it occurred. It seems to the Board of Trade that this would be a favourable opportunity for endeavouring to get further power to ensure that those who knew what occurred should state what really did occur for the information of the Board of Trade and give evidence upon the subject. I do not desire to press for an answer now, but I hope the point will be considered by the promoters of the Bill, because it is one which is not without importance.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
I think the Bill might go before the Committee of the whole House but for what the noble Lord opposite has said, that it requires inquiry and investigation.
*LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
It is a very simple matter, and I should not object to its being dealt with in Committee of the whole House if your Lordships will agree to it.
§ On Question, agreed to.
§ Bill read 2a (according to order), and committed to a Committee of the whole House on Monday next.