§ 50. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation to state the number of men lost at sea from trawlers during each of the five years before inflatable dinghies became compulsory and the number lost since; and if he will make a statement on the general usefulness in practice of inflatable dinghies.
§ Mr. Watkinson
Twenty-three men were lost at sea from trawlers and other fishing vessels in 1951; 27 in 1952; 62 in 1953; 44 in 1954 and 79 in 1955. Last year not a single life was lost as a result of a casualty to a fishing vessel. Inflatable life rafts saved the complete crews—57 men—of four of the vessels that were lost. There is no doubt that many of these men would have drowned but for the use of this valuable equipment.
In October last I made Regulations requiring the carriage of these rafts in all fishing boats from 50 ft. to 145 ft. in length. I am now preparing additional Regulations to require their carriage in fishing vessels over 145 ft., most of which are already voluntarily equipped with them, and I am discussing with the shipping industry proposals for extending their use in merchant ships.