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Wednesday, 12 October 1910

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I notice in the report of the Conference held in London, at page 136, that as small a difference as 2 or 3 inches rules between the North Atlantic load-line and the summer load-line. So that, if Senator Guthrie's contention be correct, that a ship-owner is free to add 2 inches to the free-board of a ship, it means a difference between the North Atlantic load-line and me summer load-line. Captain Chalmers, in his evidence, states that the addition to the summer load-line is in the case ot steamers 2 inches, and in the case of sailingships 3 inches. So that, as has been mentioned by Senator Guthrie, the subject is much more serious . than some honorable senators are inclined to think. As according to Captain Chalmers, the expert of the Board of Trade, 2 inches constitutes the difference between the safe load-line for winter traffic in the North Atlantic, and the easy load-line for summer traffic, it is evident that a matter of 2 inches is highly important. As to Senator Guthrie's contention that the load-line is measured from the top of the deck, I can hardly agree with him. It is only lately that I have noticed in reading clause 223 how difficult it is to understand what Senator Guthrie is aiming at. Sub-clause 3 of clause 223 states that -

The position of the disc shall be fixed in accordance with the tables in force in the United Kingdom under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, subject to such allowance as may be made necessary by the difference between the position of the deck-line marked under this Act and the position of the line from which free-board is measured under the said tables.

It will be seen, therefore, that while Senator Guthrie has . been . assuring us that the disc is measured from the upper side of the" deck. sub-clause 3 of clause 223 states that the fixing of the disc is subject to the difference between the upper side of the deck and the line from which the free-board is measured. In this proviso there are two points to be taken into consideration. Firstly, there is the upper side of the deck; and, secondly, there is the line from which the free-board is to be measured. What is that line? If it is possible to add 3 inches, it is evident that that is sufficient to destroy the whole difference between the winter Atlantic load-line and the easy summer load-line.

Senator Pearce - To talk of determining the load-line, not according to the build of the ship, but according to the position of the deck, is absolutely ridiculous.

Senator Lynch -i am in doubt about Senator Guthrie's amendment, and am not inclined to vote for it.

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