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Thursday, 13 October 1910
Page: 0


Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) -I move-

That the following new sub-clause be added : - " Every ship shall be provided with an independent chain connexion with the rudder of the boat ready for immediate adjustment in case of emergency."

This matter did not receive the attention of the Navigation Commission ; but if I had been called as a witness before that body, I could have given it some striking testimony regarding the need for a provision of this character, as the result of my own personal experience. I was on board a steamer off the Australian coast when, during the course of a heavy gale, the rudder snapped in the post-hole. We immediately found ourselves in a difficulty. The ship had on board a full complement of passengers, and a fair cargo, and there was no means of controlling her. The opinion generally expressed at the time was that, but for the fact that she had yards on her foremast, the vessel would have gone to the bottom. I quite recognise that a number of exercises, such as boat drill and similar obligations which are cast on shipmasters by regulations, have never been observed, and have, fallen into desuetude. I think it is highly necessary to provide for an independent chain connexion to the rudder body, so that in the event of a similar accident occurring, the crew could still have command of the ship. Sometimes the chains that are attached to the rudder are rusty, or hang idly down the stern, and there is no means of attaching them, and sometimes they are not connected at all. In the case of a break, such as that which occurred on the ship in which I was employed,it, was very necessary in the interests of the crew and the passengers that an independent chain connexion should be established at once. At the time Ireferred to, competent seamen expressed the belief that ifour ship had not yards on her foremast, to enable her to lay to the wind, she would have foundered very quickly, simply because there was not an independent chain connexion with the rudder, which would have enabled the man at the wheel to control her in the heavy gale which was blowing. We should have been only too glad to have had such a connexion as is provided for in my amendment. We had to wait nearly three or four days in a raging hurricane, because it was most dangerous to out out a boat to establish a connexion, and even when a boat was launched with the greatest possible amount of risk, it had to be kept clear until the sailors could get close enough to the rudder body to attach the chain, and so give command of the rudder to the man at the wheel. I had a very narrow escape on that occasion, and this amendment is submitted with a view to prevent other persons from findingthemselves in a like predicament. I feel sure that the Minister can offer no objection to its insertion.







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