§ Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Minister of Shipping (1) what arrangements exist for the inspection of the provisioning and seaworthiness of a ship's boats before the ship leaves port; and whether he will consider appointing additional inspectors in view of the greater danger of a ship being sunk in time of war than in time of peace;
(2) whether his attention has been drawn to a recent case in which some men of a torpedoed crew, who for several days were at sea in a ship's boat, died from exposure and want of nourishment; and whether he will consider revising his regulations regarding the provisioning of ships' boats and include the provision of blankets therein?
§ Mr. Cross
Since the outbreak of hostilities, requirements as to life saving and other appliances have been revised from time to time in the light of information obtained. The provision of a suitable cover for providing shelter and of a number of blankets for injured persons was made compulsory in July last year, and where consideration of space and weight make it possible, masters often increase the quantities of food carried above the minimum required. A recommendation to this effect is about to be issued. Responsibility for compliance with the requirements in force rests on the owners of the ships concerned. It would be impracticable to inspect every ship before every voyage but inspections are made as frequently as possible by the Ministry of Shipping surveyors. Evidence in my possession indicates that in practice ships' boats are provided with the equipment required by the rules.