asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware that on i7th April, the chairman of Coast Lines, Limited, with one other person, made a special trip on the ss. "Lochearn" from Oban to Tobermory; that this is not the ship's normal voyage; that the mail boat ss. "Lochinvar" had left for the same destination one hour earlier; that both ships arrived at Tobermory within 10 minutes of one another; and the amount of oil fuel consumed on the voyage and the cost in overtime paid to the ship's company?
I am informed that the chairman and general manager of MacBrayne, Limited, had to make a necessary inspection of extensions to the shipping facilities at Lochaline, which is about midway between Oban and Tobermory, and that they took the "Lochearn," intending to land at Lochaline, and to go on from there, with the mail boat. They made this arrangement in order to avoid delaying the mail boat at Lochaline while their inspection was made. Unfortunately, the weather made it impossible for the "Lochearn" to land her passengers at Lochaline, and they were, therefore, obliged to take her on to Tobermory. The fuel consumed by the "Lochearn" was about 70 gallons, and the cost of overtime was £3 3s.
Does the Minister suggest that it was impossible for the "Lochinvar" to take this diversion on its way to Tobermory and save both time and money?
Of course, that could have been done, but it would have meant that passengers and mails would have been delayed for a considerable time at Lochaline.
What was the nature of this inspection?
Inspections of this kind must be made.
Was this an inspection undertaken on behalf of the Ministry of War Transport, or was it simply an inspection conducted by Coast Lines, Limited, of which Sir Alfred Reed is chairman?
We are anxious to keep these services at the highest point of efficiency, and such inspections must be made by those responsible for running them.
I asked whether the inspection was undertaken on behalf of the Ministry of War Transport, and, if so, what was the nature of the inspection?
I have already said that in our view this was a necessary inspection.
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.