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Wednesday, 12 October 1910

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - Senator Guthrie could not have supplied a better illustration of what I was saying just now than he did in citing the case of the Era. On her certificate, the load-line was fixed by measurement from the upper part of the iron deck. The deck was not used in determining where the load-line should be put, because the tables determined that. But when they put on a new deck, 3 inches thick, and repainted the ship, they measured the load-line from the upper part of the new deck, whatever its thickness was. That, of course, gave her 3 inches less free-board ; and as I have just said, when the ship came to be underwritten, Lloyd's refused to undertake the underwriting. Why? Because the loadline was not in conformity with the rules. The owners had raised the load-line by a trick. The fault lay with the surveyor, who had allowed the vessel to go out of dock without being re-surveyed. If she had been re-surveyed, supposing that the old load-line had been 3 ft. 6 in., and the deck-line had been raised 6 inches, they would have had to put the load-line 4 feet from the top. If that had been done, the position of the load-line would have been exactly as it was before - proving what I have said, that it is not the deck-line that determines the load-line at all. The honorable senator's amendment would not have met that case. What happened there was that there was no re-survey. If the vessel had been re-surveyed, the load-line would have been put precisely where it was before: Those are the facts.

Senator Guthrie - .No: I have had the facts from Lloyd's.

Senator PEARCE - The honorable senator is not the only one who acquaints himself with the facts affecting these questions. We have had the facts in regard to the matter ascertained carefully, and what I have stated is the reason why Lloyd's refused to underwrite - simply that, and nothing more. I therefore trust that the Committee will not accept the amendment.

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