§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether he can now give any information as to the nine steam vessels lost, seven of which are stated to have foundered at sea since the first of January; whether he is aware, as stated in the "Shields Gazette," that between the 1st of last July and the 3rd of November twenty-eight British steam vessels were lost at sea; and, whether the Board of Trade is in possession of any information as to this alleged great loss of life and property; and, whether any and how many of these cases have been made the subject of formal inquiry?
§ MR. SHAW-LEFEVRE
said, in reply, that the Board of Trade had received reports respecting eight of the casualties referred to by the right hon. Member. Of these, two were collisions, resulting in the total loss of two vessels, and in partial damage to two others. Of the six other vessels, three were reported as having foundered; two were stranded; and one was supposed to have foundered. Inquiries were held by the Board of Trade in three of these cases. In two the officers and crew were acquitted of blame; in another, that of collision, the court of inquiry held the officers of the Black Swan to blame. With reference to the further Question of which the right hon. Member had only given him notice 991 that day, he could not concisely state the number of vessels lost between the dates mentioned, though there was no doubt, however, that a considerable number of vessels were lost towards the end of last year. He, hoped, however, shortly to lay upon the Table of the House the Wreck Return for 1869, showing the number of vessels lost in the year, and giving each case in which loss of life occurred. It would also show in what cases the Board of Trade directed inquiry. He might mention that the Board did not direct inquiry into any loss of life, but only into those where the facts tended to show that there was misconduct of officers, or that the vessels were sent to sea in an unseaworthy state, or overloaded.