HC Deb 25 February 1861 vol 161 cc876-7

said, he would beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, Whether Her Majesty's Government have considered the advisability of entering into Negotiations with Foreign Maritime Powers, with a view to a reciprocal recognition of claims for salvage of life occurring beyond the jurisdiction of the High Court of Admiralty; and whether the Mercantile Marine Fund would admit of larger rewards being given in cases of salvage attended with danger to the salvors?


said, that the subject of giving rewards for saving life had been under the attention of the Government. So far as our own law was concerned it might be effected by Act of Parliament; and it was proposed to insert a Clause for that purpose in a Bill for the Amendment of the Merchant Shipping Act which would provide for giving rewards for salvage of life in cases which at present were not within the law, and where foreign maritime Powers were willing to recognize the claims for salvage of life occurring beyond the jurisdiction of the Admiralty. There was a general disposition on the part of Her Majesty's Government to be liberal in such matters, but it was necessary that some rule should be laid down for the guidance of those who had to grant those rewards. The National Life Boat Association had certain rules upon that subject which had been adopted as the basis of their regulations by the Board of Trade, but in special cases much larger rewards were given. In cases where loss of life had occurred in the efforts of men to save others they gave a large sum to the families of the sailors who had lost their lives. In the recent case at Whitby, which must be in the recollection of the House, they gave to the families of those boatmen who perished in the Whitby Life Boat something like £220. He did not know that he could give any further answer than that there was every disposition on the part of the Government to be as liberal as possible.