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Loss Of Hms "Bittern"

Volume 148: debated on Tuesday 8 November 1921

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether, in the action by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty against the owners of the s.s. "Kenilworth," claiming for the loss of H.M.S. "Bittern," the owners of the "Kenilworth" were found liable; that the primary cause of the collision was the disobedience of the master of the "Kenilworth" to the orders of the Admiralty; and that such disobedience was a breach of the Defence of the Realm Regulations; whether, in view of those findings, the Admiralty considered the propriety of prosecuting the master of the "Kenilworth" under the Defence of the Realm Regulations; and, if so, what con siderations influenced the decision not to prosecute?

In the action quoted, judgment was given for the Admiralty against the owners of the s.s. "Kenilworth" in the Admiralty Division and upheld in the Court of Appeal. The judgments of the Courts animadvert upon the conduct of the master in disobeying his route orders, as directly contributory to the accident. The Admiralty at an early stage considered the propriety of taking action against the master of the "Kenilworth" either by direct proceedings or by statutory inquiry, but finally decided to await the result of the civil action and to reconsider this question in the event of its failure. The result was as stated above and no action was accordingly instituted against the master.