HC Deb 25 February 1919 vol 112 c1629W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shipping Controller whether certain standard ships have been put into commission without the accommodation for officers and men being completed; whether the quarters provided on these steel-built vessels have been unlined with wood, with the result that sweating has taken place, and when the ships have been sent into cold-weather ports icicles have been formed by distillation, to the discomfiture and risk to health of those called upon to occupy the quarters; whether, owing to this, officers have declined to sail in vessels so equipped; and whether any improvement is likely, in view of the repeated assurance that proper quarters were to be a special attraction of the standard ships?

Colonel L. WILSON

Owing to the scarcity of wood workers and of timber it was necessary to give instructions that the timber fittings in standard steamers building should be reduced to a minimum, and several standard ships were delivered in which the officers'quarters were unlined. After the signing of the Armistice greater quantities of timber became available for shipbuilding purposes and a letter was issued by the Controller-General of Merchant Shipbuilding on the 12th November, 1918, instructing the builders of all standard steamers to revert to the pre-war practice as regards all timber fittings on standard steamers, including wood linings in the officers'accommodation. As regards the ships already delivered with incomplete fittings, managers have been instructed to have the work completed at the first opportunity.