HC Deb 05 November 1943 vol 393 cc971-2W
Captain Duncan

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he can make a statement showing the progress in the provision of steel lifeboats for the Merchant Navy, especially for tankers; how many have been ordered; how many have been delivered; and whether experience shows that the design as finally chosen is in every way satisfactory?

Mr. Noel-Baker

The provision of steel lifeboats on tankers was made obligatory in July, 1942. At that date, about half the tanker fleet was already equipped with them. Since then, all new tankers and some additional existing tankers have been similarly equipped. Recent experiments have led to the adoption of a new and improved design of steel lifeboat for tankers, which includes devices to protect the crew from the special fire risk to which tankers are subject; and a large number of these new boats are now on order. The experiments have also shown that these devices can be successfully fitted into wooden lifeboats, so as to give a similar protection. The conversion of such boats has, therefore, begun, and my hon. and gallant Friend may rest assured that no effort will be spared to promote the safety of tanker crews.