HC Deb 15 July 1875 vol 225 cc1483-4

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether it is true that the owner of a merchant steamer, which was ordered to be detained as unseaworthy, overloaded, and in a condition dangerous to human life, defied the officers of the Government; and whether, when a Custom House officer was put on board to enforce her detention, he was not forcibly carried to sea to a Russian port; and, if these facts are as stated, what means the Government mean to take to strengthen and enforce their authority?


It is true, Sir, that the master of the Estella, which was ordered to be detained for survey as overloaded, carried to sea the officer who was placed on board by the Customs for the purpose of detaining her. [Laughter.] I cannot see any cause for laughter—I think it a most serious matter. The master has been convicted under the Act of 1873 for preventing the survey, and it appears that the Court considered there were special reasons for inflicting a light penalty—£5 and costs. But I am in communication with the Customs on the question whether further proceedings should not be taken to punish the very grave offence of carrying to sea a Government officer placed on board by lawful authority for the purpose of detaining a ship.