HC Deb 10 May 1869 vol 196 cc468-9

said, he wished to ask the President of the Board of Trade, Whether it is true, as has been stated by the Nantes and Havre Chambers of Commerce in a recent Memorial to the French Government, that in the trade between London and the French ports the Customs authorities in London demand receipts for pilotage from French vessels previous to granting clearances, which demand is not made in the case of British vessels engaged in the same trade; and, if so, on what ground such demand is made, and on what grounds the vessels of the two Countries are subjected to different treatment?


, in reply, said, it was quite true that, under the Merchant Shipping Act, foreign ships were required to pay pilotage dues in the way specified, and that British ships were not required to pay in the same manner. Both, however, were subjected to the same rates of pilotage, and under the same obligations with respect to the employment of pilots. There was some difficulty about knowing what was the reason of the difference made between them; but it was assumed to be the case that the owners of foreign shipping were often not here, and therefore were not so easily accessible in case the pilotage were not paid. Another reason given was, that it was a better plan for the owners of foreign shipping, as it secured them from the chance of imposition. However, he suspected that neither of these reasons was of much weight, and he believed it was intended that the point should be considered in the Amendments of the Merchant Shipping Act, and that in all probability the distinction would be removed.