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Merchant Shipping Notice M.558 was issued after consultation with interested organisations. These consultations led us to believe that the amendment would be immediately acceptable.
However, when we sought the views of Trinity House Pilotage Service on the proposed amendment, it indicated substantial disagreement with it. These differences have been explored in subsequent meetings, and the board has undertaken to reconsider its attitude in consultation with others concerned such as the United Kingdom Chamber of Shipping. A further meeting with Trinity House and the pilots will be arranged as soon as these consultations have been completed.
Does the Minister appreciate how unsatisfactory this is? One pilot has already lost his life because this matter has not been settled. Surely the Minister will agree that the pilots should give advice on their own safety? A television programme on this subject has been broadcast, and I have been forced to use the Ten-minute Rule Bill procedure to bring in a Private Member's Bill to get the Board of Trade to do something about this.
It does not lie entirely either with the Board of Trade or with the pilots. Our object is to reconsider this decision, as I think the hon. Gentleman wishes us to do. For this purpose we must consult a fair range of interested parties in the industry as a whole. Once that is done, we shall have immediate talks with Trinity House and the pilots.
Are we to understand that disagreement was expressed by the Chamber of Shipping on behalf of shipowners in general on the ground of cost, and is not it shocking that the pilots' lives should be in jeopardy because of minor expenditure on the provision of the necessary equipment?