Samuel Plimsoll returns to Liverpool to investigate the dangerous over-loading of ships. Inevitably he crosses swords with Onedin and prepares to take him to court for contravening the limit. However he comes to learn that Fogarty has actually bribed a surveyor to falsely claim that Onedin is breaking the rules to gain advantage over his rival. To show good faith Onedin invites Plimsoll on his next voyage and impresses him with his seamanship when the ship hits a storm. Annoyed by Fogarty's dirty dealings Plimsoll agrees to drop the court case providing Onedin ships carry the Plimsoll line.
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