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Penlee Lifeboat And "Union Star"

Volume 23: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1982

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asked the Minister for Trade (1) when he intends to begin the formal inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the loss of the Penlee lifeboat and the "Union Star";(2) if he has any information as to whether the Irish Government intends to hold an informal inquiry into the loss of the "Union Star" in British waters.

The Irish Government have still to decide their action into the loss of the "Union Star". The scope of the formal investigation into the circumstances of the loss of the Penlee lifeboat, to which my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State referred in his reply of 17 March to the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Mudd), and its timing, cannot yet therefore be determined.

asked the Minister for Trade whether his Department has received any indication that the vessel "Union Star" was in trouble before 6 pm on the day she sank in British waters; and if he will make a statement.

The first positive indication that the "Union Star" was in trouble was the radio message from the vessel to the Coastguard at 6.03 pm. Information was, however, given subsequently to the inspector carrying out the preliminary inquiry into the loss of the Penlee lifeboat that an unidentified vessel had been seen lying low in the water, and not making much headway, between 3.30 and 4.45 pm in the vicinity of Lizard Head.