The hon. gentleman remembers a great many things that he would not be expected to know while there are other things in reference to his department that he appears not to remember. If the port of Yarmouth is left without a pilot it is a very serious matter, and Mr. Doane being one of the best pilots there, it seems a hardship that he is debarred from exercising a privilege which he has enjoyed for a great many years.
I would like to know if the minister has any information to give -to the committee regarding the statement made in the papers a month or six weeks [DOT]ago, at the time of the unfortunate wreck of the Cobequid, that the lights were out of order and that the entrance to the bay of Fundy was not properly lighted. I am aware that an investigation was held and a report made, but possibly the minister
might give some concrete information on this important question.
The Cobequid ran ashore on what is known as Trinity ledge. Before running ashore on Trinity ledge the ship passed close to the Nova Scotia coast and to the eastward of the Lurcher Shoal lightship. The statement was made that the Lurcher Shoal lightship was out of order and that the light was not burning. Such was not the case. The light was burning. It is a most modern light. The fog alarm was in perfect order and also the submarine bell, but in the fierce storm which was prevailing at the time the submarine bell was probably of not very much value. Although the light was burning, and although the fog alarm was in perfect condition, the steamer was not attracted by these signals and ran on Trinity ledge. It was far out of its course. The finding of the wreck commissioner about the matter was that the captain, after he had seen the light from the Nova Scotia coast farther down, should have stayed out to the westward in the open sea, because, if he had done so, the accident would not have happened. The gas buoy that marks the* Trinity ledge was not burning. These buoys go out from tune to time, and when they do the fact is reported to the agent of the department in the district, and the practice followed is that notices are published in the newspapers in the different ports, and notices are also sent to the Canadian Shipping Federation. The object of publishing these notices is so that vessels in port may be made aware of the fact that a particular light is out of commission, and, in addition to that, the agents of the steamers will be able tp send wireless messages to their steamers, which they know are on their way to the port. This buoy was reported out of commission to the agent of the Marine Department in St. John six or seven days before the wreck of the Cobequid, and the agent immediately published the notices, and notified the Shipping Federation of Canada. The usual steps were taken, and when the wreck occurred the Landsdowne had a buoy on board taking it to replaee this buoy. The opinion expressed by the wreck commissioners, which no doubt is correct, is that the fact that the light was not burning on the buoy in no way contributed to the accident.
could not have seen it. The captain swore on the inquiry that in the storm that was raging it was impossible to see anything beyond the bow of the 'boat. Captain Lindsay, the wreck commissioner, told me-and I asked him most particularly on the subject, because I was naturally anxious about it and interested in it-that if the light had been burning it *could not possibly have prevented the accident, considering the nature of the storm which was raging at the time. In :any ordinary weather, the captain would have seen the light on Lurcher, or he would have been warned by the fog whistle, but the men in my department who have been sailors, or who have been in the navy, tell me that conditions arise now and then when aids to navigation will fail. Such were the conditions prevailing outside the bay of Fundy when the Cobequid went on the Trinity ledges.
The submarine bell was in [DOT]operation and in perfect order on board the lightship, but whether the Cobequid was [DOT]equipped with submarine apparatus or not, I do not know. I asked that question -of Captain Lindsay, but apparently that information was not given. Captain Lindsay, however, expressed the opinion to me that even if the Cobequid had been [DOT]equipped with the apparatus to enable her under ordinary conditions to get the sound of the submarine bell, it is doubtful, considering the storm, that it would have been effective on that occasion.
When these submarine bells were introduced a great deal was expected of them and considerable expenditure was entailed by their installation. It would be interesting to sea-going people to know what results we are getting from them. I hope the minister will ascertain whether the Cobequid was equipped with this apparatus or not, and if not it would be well, perhaps, that these subsidized vessels should be so equipped. I understood that the captain missed his way to some extent, due to the fact that the lightship had been out of commission some short time before, and that he did not know it had been re-lit when he was entering the bay of Fundy. It is said that had he
known the lightship was in operation and lit, he would have had a better chance of getting safely into the bay. The only criticism I have to make, is, that it is curious that the Lurcher should have been out of commission very shortly before that, and that then when the Lurcher got into commission, the buoy should have been out of commission.
of these submarine bells is evidently recognized by marine authorities, because at the recent convention in London, for the safety of ships at sea, one of the clauses of the convention agreed to by the thirteen nations represented by men of experience was that all lightships and important light stations should be equipped with these submarine bells. A good many \veek3 before the Cobequid came up the bay, the Lurcher lightship had been undergoing repairs. Once a year these lightships have to be taken from their stations to be overhauled and put in thorough order. Several weeks before the Cobequid sailed from the West Indies for St. John, the agent of the steamship line had been notified, through public notice, that the lightship was again in commission, and there could hs no excuse whatever for the captain assuming that the lightship was out of commission. The agent of the vessel had ample notice and time to communicate the fact to the captain of the Cobequid before he sailed from the West Indies.
right in stating that the captain of the Cobequid made a mistake in not running for the Lurcher, but as he supposed the lightship was not there he did not make for her. On the other hand, the department is somewhat to blame for not having the buoy in order on Trinity ledges. I understood the minister to say that on this night it was so thick and stormy that the light would be no good, but I always supposed that these buoys were to be useful on just such occasions, for, on a moonlight night, when the captain can see all around him, there would be no necessity for them. I understood the minister to say that this light had been out for only six or seven days, but I would like to inform the hon. gentleman that after I put the question on the Order Paper early in January I had this letter from a captain:
Port Maitland, N.S., January 24, 1914. Mr. Law:
Dear Sir,-In reference to your question con-
cerning the light on buoy on Trinity ledge being out of commission, at the time the steamer Cobequid wreck occurred, 1 would say: Yes, it was; it has been out since the first heavy gale in December.