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Wednesday, 20 November 1912

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - The provision which Senator St. Ledger has quoted from the Merchant Shipping Act was not in this Bill as it left the Senate, and we could not insert such a provision at this juncture. But whilst that express provision is not contained in this Bill, the Merchant Shipping Act will apply so far as British ships at sea, and not under our immediate jurisdiction, are concerned. As regards ships under our immediate jurisdiction we have power under clause 263 to make rules for the prevention of collisions at sea, and to prescribe what lights and signals are to be used by ships, and under the new clause 265A inserted by the House of Representatives, it is provided that the master or person in charge of a vessel shall, so far as he can do so, without serious danger to his own ship, her crew and passengers, render assistance to every person, even if such person be a subject of a foreign State at war with the King, who is found at sea in danger of being lost, and failure to render such assistance renders him liable to be charged with an indictable offence. There never was any provision in this Bill to compel a master to give the name of his ship or of the owners to the master of a ship with which he collided, and though such a provision is contained in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, my statement in submitting the motion still remains true, that these new clauses are based, without any material variation, on the provisions of the Maritime Conventions Act to which I have referred.

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