§ VISCOUNT SIDMOUTH
My Lords, I rise to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether Papers can be laid on the Table showing the progress made in the construction of the breakwater at the entrance to Malta harbour. As your Lordships must be aware, this is a most important 1096 work, and it is recognised as such by all those who have any cognisance of naval matters or the harbour at Malta. Owing to the increased size of vessels of modern construction, the harbour, which has never been sufficiently large, is now contracted in its dimensions, and I should like to know how soon we may hope that the breakwater will be sufficiently constructed to allow of a larger portion of the harbour being used. I wish to ask the noble Earl also whether it is anticipated that after the completion of the breakwater, Bighi Bay will afford safe anchorage for His Majesty's ships of war. This portion of the harbour is now practically useless, but it might be made available for ships of the largest size. I speak with some experience, having passed six years in service in the Mediterranean. Finally, I wish to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether any measures are being taken, or are in contemplation, for deepening and improving the anchorage in Quarantine or Marsamaseet harbour. This harbour is so shallow at present that it is only available for ships of light draught, but if thoroughly dredged it would be useful for vessels which cannot be accommodated in the harbour. There is another harbour lying higher up which, if properly dredged, would be available for merchant vessels.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (The Earl of SELBORNE)
My Lords, I can answer my noble friend briefly. There are no Papers which can be conveniently laid on this subject. Good progress is being made with the breakwater, but I cannot name a date when it will be completed. It is hoped after completion that Bighi Bay will afford safe anchorage for His Majesty's ships. A considerable amount of dredging has already been done in Quarantine Harbour, and further work is in progress.