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Wednesday, 4 October 1911
Page: 1034

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - The clause is intended to meet definite cases of wreck. It deals with any ship that may he " wrecked, stranded, sunk, or abandoned, on or near the coast of Australia." The Minister may require the owner to remove the wreck, and if he does not comply, the Minister may remove, or destroy, or sell it, and out of the proceeds may retain a sum sufficient to cover the expenses incurred in the removal or sale. Take the case of the Despatch, which was wrecked quite recently in the fairway at Cunninghame, Victoria. I take it that that wreck will be an obstruction to shipping, and will have .to. be removed. If this provision had . to be applied in that case the Minister would come upon the person who was the owner immediately prior to the wreck ; and if that person did not comply with the order to destroy or .remove the wreck, the Minister would proceed to remove it at the expense of the owner. Whether the ship had before the wreck been sold bond fide or not, whoever was owner at that time would be responsible. It seems perfectly clear, and I do hot see how the clause, as amended., can fail to meet every case, unless we are to assume that an owner would deliberately enter, into a bogus sale and then arrange for the wrecking of his ship. The clause would not apply in the case of every- wreck. In the case of very few wrecks will it be necessary for the Minister to call upon the owner to remove or destroy it. That course -will be adopted only when a wreck lies in the fairway. In such cases it will be easy to ascertain who was the owner of the vessel immediately prior to her loss.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule II.

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