asked the President of the Board of Trade whether many cases proving the inefficiency of wireless watchers for the performance of the duties assigned to them have occurred since the Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee considered the question of their employment; whether, in particular, ho is aware that the watchers on at least five ships within wireless range of the s s. "Egypt" have been found to have missed the S.O.S. distress call, and that on at least 19 other ships, fitted with wireless and within range of the "Egypt." no wireless watch was kept at the time of the S.O.S. call: and whether, in view of these facts, he will consider such an amendment of the existing law as will make the employment of at least two fully-qualified wireless operators on all ships of the second and third classes compulsory?
Since the Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee reported on the question of watchers, 27 cases of alleged inefficiency have been brought before the Board of Trade, in some of which there is prima facie evidence of technical inefficiency. These cases will be inquired into. As the circumstances attending the loss of the "Egypt" will shortly be inquired into by a Court, I do not propose to make any statement as to the wireless service of ships in the neighbourhood, but if the hon. Member will be good enough to send me particulars of the ships he refers to, I will see that the matter is not overlooked. The whole question of watchers is being very carefully followed, but there is not sufficient cause at present to justify an amendment of the existing Regulations.