This Bill is designed to give effect to two International Conventions which have been ratified by the Saorstát and by every other country interested in shipping, one dealing with safety provisions and the other with loadline provisions. The British Government have brought this into operation and particularly with relation to the Loadline Convention, we are anxious that this Bill should be law before the end of the year, because the British Government has delayed operating this measure until the 1st January of next year and it is important that we should have our law corresponding to theirs and to the international law on the matter by that date; otherwise Saorstát ships going into British or other ports will find themselves in rather a peculiar position. There is nothing controversial in the matter. It is the product of international harmony. Other States have given effect to it and I do not think there is any objection to our doing so.
Merchant Shipping (Safety and Loadline Conventions) Bill, 1933—Second Stage.
I want to draw the attention of the Minister to a matter which I have been asked to bring forward because a Deputy who intended to bring it before the Dáil was more or less caught napping by the rather unexpectedly speedy adjournment of the Dáil. In Section 1, in the first line, the words occur "where by reason of the wreck or loss of a ship." The wording of the Convention itself was "lost or foundering." The wording "wreck or loss" is the wording used in the British Merchant Shipping Act. The usage of the latter, that is, the wording that the British have incorporated in their Shipping Acts, gives a much wider scope, I am informed, to the operation of the payment of an indemnity. The practical effect of the use of the British wording is to make an indemnity payable in many cases where the vessel does not become a total loss and is merely stranded. If the Minister is prepared to give the matter consideration, I shall go into it on the Committee Stage. The purpose of the Convention was to restrict this indemnity to conditions where the vessel was a total loss. I do not want to rush the Minister into saying whether he would agree to that or not, but if he would undertake to consider it I should table an amendment to enable him to give a considered opinion on the Committee Stage.
I shall do that.