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Wednesday, 4 October 1911

Senator McDOUGALL (New South Wales) . - I move -

That the following new clause be inserted : - " 191A. - (1.) The regulations shall provide for not less than three classes of surveyors, as follows : -

Class I. - Shipwright surveyors.

Class II. - Boiler and iron hull surveyors.

Class III. - Engineer surveyors. (2.) Class I. shall consist of men who are qualified to determine the general fitness of a ship, her deck, hull (where the hull is constructed of wood), rigging, stowage of cargo, fitness for the voyage, general equipment, and other prescribed matters in relation to the ship. (3.) Class II. shall consist of men who are qualified to determine the condition of a ship's boilers and hull (where the hull is constructed of iron or steel). (4.) Class III. shall consist of men who are qualified to determine the condition of a ship's engines and machinery. (5.) Admission to the respective classes shall be by examination conducted under and in accordance with the regulations :

Provided that any person who proves to the satisfaction of the Minister that he was at the commencement of this Act bond fide practising as a shipwright surveyor, boiler and iron hull surveyor, or engineer surveyor, or as a surveyor in an equivalent capacity, under any State Act relating to navigation, and that he -

(a)   has been so practising for at least three years prior to the commencement of this Act, or

(b)   is the holder of a certificate of competency under State law of equivalent class to a certificate under this Act, and is competent to act as a surveyor under this Act, may be admitted as a shipwright surveyor, boiler and iron hull surveyor, or engineer surveyor, as the case may be, under this Act, without passing the prescribed examination. (6.) Any examination under the preceding subsection shall be, in part at least, of a practical nature. (7.) The provisions' of sections thirteen to eighteen inclusive shall apply, with such modifications as are prescribed, to examinations held and certificates granted under this section.

I am proposing the insertion of three new clauses to provide for the better inspection of the hull and machinery of iron and wooden vessels. As one who has graduated in this class of ship-building, I know only too well that many a good man has gone to his rest because of insufficient or inefficient inspection. I desire to divide the inspectors into three different classes - shipwright surveyors ; boiler and iron hull surveyors; and engineer surveyors. In the past it has been almost impossible for a practical man, who is able to construct a vessel or a boiler, to become a surveyor, and the surveyors of vessels have been drawn practically from one class. I do not desire to confine these positions to men following a particular trade, but if a man has to survey an iron or wooden vessel he should be skilled in the construction of such vessels. I propose that the examination to be provided for shall be in part at least of a practical nature. The object of this is that if a man wishes to act as a shipwright surveyor he must be a shipwright. It should not be necessary for him to pass the other examinations now provided for in the New South Wales Act. We have in that State a shipwright surveyor who has a captain's certificate. He went to sea as a shipwright, and subsequently qualified as a mate and then as master on a coasting vessel. So far as boiler and iron hull surveyors are concerned, we have no one in

New South Wales at the present time acting in the position who is capable of constructing an iron vessel. It is necessary that such a surveyor should have some practical knowledge of .construction, because with that knowledge he will know the weak points, whereas an unskilled man would not be so apt to discover defects. I know of one case in which a surveyor surveyed the boilers in a vessel and gave a certificate, though he forgot to look at the doors of the toilers. They were in a very bad state, and the ship had not been at sea an hour before the packing of the defective doors blew out, and an unfortunate man was boiled to death in the stoke-hole, while his mates on deck could hear his cries for assistance, and were unable to aid him. The man who was killed was new to the ship, and turning to his left hand instead of to his right to reach the companion ladder, he lost his life in the way I have described. Another case occurred not long ago in which I. was myself concerned. I saw a man done to death in the furnace of a boiler through the bursting of a tube in a donkey boiler that had not been surveyed for twelve or eighteen months, lt is on record that at the inquest upon this man I gave evidence which led the Coroner's jury to pass reflections upon the surveyor and the company concerned. As a result the company compensated the willow for the loss of her husband rather than go into Court to contest a claim for compensation. As I was employed by the same firm they also compensated me by conferring upon me "the order of the sack." That turned out to be a good thing for me, because I have not worked at my trade one day since. I am very glad now to have the opportunity in the Senate to point out the necessity for some such provisions as I propose. I quote the following from one of our leading newspapers -

A meeting of the Engineering Association was held on Thursday night. Professor S. H. Barraclough delivered an interesting address on " Boiler Explosions as Affected by Unsymmetrically Riveted Joints." The professor made the reassuring statement that there had only been three boiler explosions on the New South Wales railways since they had been running. In the discussion which followed the lecture, stress was laid upon the need for Government inspection of boilers.

So far as the New -South Wales railways are concerned, every man holding the position of an inspector is a practical man and able to build a boiler. The authorities would never dream of appointing any one else, and that is one of the reasons why our railways have been so free from accidents of this kind. I ask the Government to consent to the amendments I propose, in order to give greater security not only to the travelling public, but to the men employed on vessels. I feel confident that they will accept the amendments, and will permit them to become part of the Bill.

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