HC Deb 05 March 1868 vol 190 cc1115-6

said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Board of Trade, Whether, having reference to the cases of the ships Kit Carson and Bazaar, as detailed in the Report made by Mr. Montague Bere and presented to this House, he intends to take any further steps; and if he thinks it will be possible to frame a Measure, to be passed into Law, which will help to protect English and Foreign Vessels from the very large and apparently exorbitant charges that are so often exacted by Deal boatmen when ships are placed in necessitous circumstances?


said, in reply, that it was not intended to take any further steps in the cases to which the hon. Member referred. The Kit Carson and Bazaar were both American vessels. Therefore the Board of Trade had no power over the Captain's certificate, supposing him in fault, and though some of the wit- nesses gave their evidence in a very discreditable way, it was doubtful whether proceedings against them for perjury would be successful. The great advantage of these inquiries was the publicity given to these disgraceful proceedings. That this had not been without fruit was shown in the case of the Olivia, where, in consequence of the exposure by the Board of Trade inquiry, the shipowner refused to pay more than £150 of the agent's claim of £628, and succeeded in defending an action for the balance on the 25th of last month, and where criminal proceedings had been instituted by Lloyd's Salvage Committee against three of the parties concerned. It was his belief that one of the principal causes of this abominable extortion which disgraced us in the eyes of foreign nations was the want of means of obtaining speedy settlement. The arbitration was a mere farce, and this enormous injustice was borne as a leas evil than the detention of the ship, or a suit in the Admiralty Court, or before the Cinque Ports Commissioners. He fully agreed with Mr. Montagu Bere that it would be very desirable that some impartial tribunal should at once, and on the spot, settle what charges should be allowed in case of goods supplied, and services rendered, and the Board of Trade was doing its best to accomplish this desirable object.