HC Deb 03 March 1854 vol 131 cc276-7

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what orders had been issued to the captains of Her Majesty's vessels in respect to the assistance to be rendered to British vessels in distress at sea; and whether the masters or seamen who do render assistance to such vessels are allowed to make any charge beyond the expenses incurred by them in rendering that assistance?


said, that the general order of the Board of Admiralty respecting salvage on the part of the Queen's ships was laid upon the table of the House last Session. Under that order, officers and seamen of the Queen's ships were directed to render every assistance to distressed merchant vessels. By an Act passed last Session, all claims on the part of the officers and men of the Queen's ships for rendering that service must first receive the sanction of the chief officer on the station, and be confirmed by the Board of Admiralty, before they could be prosecuted in a court of law; and this sanction was never given unless, in the opinion of the Admiralty, the services rendered had been really important, and had been attended with danger to life. As an instance of the views which the Board of Admiralty entertained on the subject, he might state that within the last three months a claim had been put forward for having towed a disabled steamer belonging to the port of London a distance of 1,200 miles, on the coast of Africa. Although there could be no doubt that this was an important service rendered, still, as it was not attended with danger to life, the Admiralty had refused to allow the claim for salvage to be instituted.