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Wednesday, 20 November 1912

Senator McDOUGALL (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The provision* for a six months' survey in New SouthWales was altered because vested interests, desired to have an annual survey all over. Australia. It was considered that one State or one shipping company should not get an advantage over another in the matter of survey, but that does not prove that the provision for an annual survey was right. In their report, the Navigation Commission did not say that it was right; on the contrary, they said that it was wrong. Now the registration of a ship by Lloyd's need not be recognised. No vessel can goto sea hereafter unless she has a certificateunder our Navigation Act. I do not intendto say very much, because the decision is. a foregone conclusion, but I shall continueto raise my voice in favour of what I think, is right and proper for the benefit of pas~sengers. Twelve months is absolutely toolong to allow boats and haulage gear togo without a survey. There was evidence given before the Navigation Commission by an expert that the boats of a vessel ha ti not been shifted out of the chocks for twelve months, and that when they were put over the side, they sank. As regards; the gear which is necessary for the saving of life at sea, twelve months is, I repeat, too long a period to pass without an inspection being made. On this subject, Mr. Travers, a practical shipwright, gave, this evidence -

There is another matter which seems to be of very great importance, viz., the life-saving apparatus, which, unless it receives special attention, all the survey in the world would beutterly useless without it. Possibly a vessel would go to sea quite seaworthy, and through* bad weather spring a leak and founder ; the. only means of saving lives would be to take tothe boats. In many cases the boats them selvesare perfectly watertight and seaworthy, but theappliances for getting these boats into the water are often in a very bad and serious condition. I remember being at work here about nine years, ago on the A. U.S.N. Company's steam-ship- Rockton. I was engaged to put a piece of belt- - ing amidships, about 30 or 40 feet long, which necessitated using the davits and tackle falls... We had to get the boat overboard. After getting. her over the side she sunk. It took about two¬ę or three hours to get her out. I do not think she had been out for years before. The tackle falls were all swelled in the blocks; the boat.-., absolutely stuck to the chocks. Our contention , is that no matter how sound the boat may be, . unless there is a regular inspection of the gear- to get the boat out, that a serious accident may arise at any time. This is one matter which came under my own notice, although I haveheard of a good many. I must say (hat sincethe passing of this Act in I 90I the system of ' survey here is very much more rigid than itwas. I am not here to find fault with it. I.' believe it has been improved fully 75 per cent, on what it was before; still, I think there is room for much improvement.

That evidence was given by a practical man concerning a vessel, which is running on the coast to-day. In my opinion, six months is a short enough period for a vessel inspected by a practical and competent surveyor. I have given instances of vessels running in Sydney Harbor, which, before the end of six months, were not safe. I believe that an injustice is being done by providing for a yearly survey. I do not say that New South Wales was right in 1908 when it reverted to a twelve months' survey, but it simply brought its law into line with that of other States. The ship-owners said, and the secretary to the Ship-owners' Association gave evidence, that it was desirable to have a half-yearly survey. So far as clause 208 is concerned, it will not be necessary for the Minister or the Governor-General to accept a certificate from any association unless he thinks fit.

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