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Wednesday, 12 October 1910

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - I cannot let this go yet. I have here a book, and I ask honorable senators to consider the depth from one cover to the other as the distance between the deck-line and the centre of the disc forming the loadline. We will say that it represents 3 ft. 6 in. I place on top of this book another to represent a wooden planking i inch thick on the top of an iron deck. It will be seen that I have now shifted the upper part of the deck from which the freeboard is measured, by 1 inch.

Senator Pearce - And the distance is 3 ft. 7 in., instead of 3 ft. 6 in.

Senator Sayers - The load-line remains in the same place.

Senator GUTHRIE - When the mathematical calculation is made, it is estimated that the free-board of the ship should be 3 ft. 6 in.

Senator Pearce - Measured from where ?

Senator GUTHRIE - I leave all marks out of the question altogether. We take into consideration the length of the ship, her beam, and her moulded depth, and decide according to the tables that she must ' have 3 ft. 6 in. free-board.

Senator Pearce - Measured from where ?

Senator GUTHRIE - From anywhere. How are we going to measure that freeboard? Lloyd's tell ys that the measurement shall be from the centre of the disc to the upper part of the deck. The distance, therefore, from the centre of the disc to the upper part, of the deck must be 3 ft. 6 in.

Senator Sayers - How do you calculate where to put the disc?

Senator GUTHRIE - From the deckline.

Senator Sayers - Not at all. The disc is fixed before the deck-line, according to the Minister.

Senator GUTHRIE - No, you cannot fix your disc until you get your deck-line.

Senator Sayers - Has every ship of the same tonnage got the same free-board?

Senator GUTHRIE - No. The freeboard is arrived at in this way : The length, breadth and moulded depth of the vessel, that is, the depth from the underneath part nf her deck_ to her keelstone, are taken. The poops, deckhouses and forecastles are taken into the calculation. The whole thing is mathematically worked out, and it is found that the ship is entitled, because of her measurements, t'o a free-board of so much, say, of 4 feet. How then are you going to give the ship the 4 feet? First of all we say there shall be a mark amidships showing her deck-line, and 4 feet is supposed to be given from the deck to the water when she is loaded.

Senator Sayers - Simply for the -purpose of the certificate.

Senator GUTHRIE - And for many other purposes. The Plimsoll mark was first put on ships so that a sailor could see if a ship was fairly loaded before he went to sea in her. On the ship's articles the free-board must be inserted, and cannot be altered during the currency of the agreement. In the Era. the free-board was never altered, although the mark was raised 3 inches. From the upper part of the deck to the centre of the disc there was the same measurement. That is the point the Minister does not seem to grasp.

Senator Findley - If you keep adding inches to it, what then?

Senator GUTHRIE - You would do away with the free-board altogether.

Senator Pearce - Lloyd's must be a set of fools.

Senator GUTHRIE - It is not, because in those cases it refuses to have anything more to do with the ship. Lloyd's certificate was withdrawn in that case, as the Minister knows.

Senator Pearce - If the Era had been re-suryeyed, as she ought to have been, her load-line would have been precisely where it was before.

Senator GUTHRIE - Under this pro: vision no surveyor can take anything but the Act to guide him. He would have to give the ship her measurement to the upper part of her deck.

Senator Pearce - The Act says you shall do it in accordance with the tables in force in the United Kingdom.

Senator GUTHRIE - That applies to finding the free-board. To measure the freeboard afterwards is another matter. The deck-line is only used for measuring the free-board, for showing the free-board on the side of the ship, for use on the ship's articles, and so on. If you shift that mark as you build up the deck you will lift the Plimsoll mark and put people's lives in jeopardy all the time.