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Tuesday, 11 October 1910

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) - - I agree entirely with Senator Sayers that passengers should be properly protected in regard to ths amount' of the accommodation provided for them on board ships. But this is not the part of the Bill in which the matter should be dealt with. We are dealing here with the accommodation required for the crew. As I have already stated, this matter of accommodation for passengers is dealt with in Part III. of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, which is in force not only in England, but in all British dominions.

Senator St Ledger - Does it not refer merely to emigrant ships?

Senator GUTHRIE - No; to all ships carrying steerage passengers. The assumption in the Imperial Act is that cabin passengers are able to look after themselves.

Senator Sayers - We know that that is not a fact.

Senator GUTHRIE - That is the theory of the Imperial law on the subject; but all necessary provision is made for the proper accommodation of steerage passengers. All that we can do is to make provision in this Bill that the Governor-General may, by proclamation, lay down certain rules. The Imperial authorities have in the most careful way laid down rules governing this matter of the accommodation for passengers. If any honorable senator takes the trouble to look at schedule 10 of the Imperial Act of 1894 he will see that provision is made for the thickness of the bulkheads, the size of the bunks, the distance they must be from the deck, the number of tiers of bunks permitted, and a hundred and one other things. All those provisions are law here, and I believe we have no power to alter a single section of the Imperial Act. Under clause 268 of this Bill, full provision is made for the issue of regulations which may cover all the provisions included in the Imperial Act for the accommodation of passengers. I have here a copy of the " Memorandum of Part III. of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894." It is dated " Marine Department, Board of Trade, May, 1895." It is issued by the Board of Trade, and, so far as I know, there is nothing later dealing with the subject. I quote the following -

Effect of carrying passengers in the poopThe result of the law on this head is shown in the three following cases, supposing that the weather-deck check does not come into play.

(1)   If a ship carries in the poop or deckhouse not more than one cabin passenger to every hundred tons register, she may carry passengers on two other decks.

(2)   If she carries in the poop or deck-house more than that proportion of cabin passengers, or any steerage passengers at all, she cannot carry passengers on more than one other deck.

(3)   If she carries in the poop or deck-house more passengers (whether cabin or steerage or both) than one-third the legal complement of the deck next below, then the steerage passengers on that deck will be entitled to 18 clear superficial feet, per statute adult, otherwise only to 15 feet.

As an illustration, suppose a ship of 1,200 tons has a poop and two decks, of which the upper is carrying 200 statute adults, she can legally take in the poop as many as 12 cabin passengers (counting each child over one year of age as a passenger) and her full complement on the two other decks.

(1)   If, however, she takes in the poop more than 12 cabin passengers, or any steerage passengers, however few, then she could only take passengers on one other deck, and that the deck next beneath the poop or deck-house.

(2)   The steerage passengers on that deck would only be entitled to 15 superficial feet per statute adult, unless the ship carried in the poop more passengers (of whatever class) than 100 statute adults, in which case the steerage passengers on the deck below would be entitledto18 feet per statute adult.

45.   In calculating the number of statute adults which a vessel can legally carry, the master, crew, and cabin passengers are not to be counted.

46.   In ascertaining the area of the" passengers' deck" the following rule should be followed : -

(1)   Subject to the deductions hereafter mentioned, the length of the " passengers' deck " multiplied into the mean breadth is to be taken as the superficial area.

(2)   The whole length of the space appropriated to the use of the passengers should be measured in a straight line from end to end. But as passengers are occasionally carried on iron decks, sheathed for the winter months, and insulation has in some instances been introduced for the carriage of homeward refrigerated cargo, it must in all cases be clearly understood that no portion of the space should be included in the measurements, which does not give to the passenger the legal right of at least six feet.

It will be seen that the accommodation for the passengers has to measure 6 feet in height and 18 superficial feet on the deck. The Imperial Government have been very careful in making ample provision for every passenger who is carried in a passenger ship throughout the British Dominions. I agree with Senator Sayers that we ought to safeguard the accommodation for passengers as much as possible, but we cannot do any more at present.

Senator Sayers - We can.

Senator GUTHRIE - The amendment, if made here, would have no effect, because this clause deals exclusively with the accommodation for the officers and the crew. If the honorable senator is prepared to move in this direction when clause 268 is reached, I shall be prepared to give fair consideration to his proposal, and if I can help him I will.

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