HC Deb 26 April 1877 vol 233 cc1943-4

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether the French steamer "Labrador" embarked steerage passengers at Plymouth and sailed for New York, on Sunday the 15th instant, without compliance with the regulations to which British steamers in like circumstances are subjected; and, if he is aware that the exemption from specific fulfilment of the ordinary requirements of the Passengers Acts of 1855, 1863, and 1870, which was provided by Clause 19 in the Merchant Shipping Act of last Session, practically represents a considerable saving in expenses so far as foreign vessels are concerned, and will operate as a premium for the encouragement of foreign shipping, to the disadvantage of British shipowners?


Sir, the facts of this case are the exact reverse of what is suggested by this argumentative Question. This French ship embarked a few steerage passengers from Plymouth, not without compliance, but in compliance with the 19th section of the Act of last year. She had been surveyed in the port from which she commenced her voyage, and our principal officers had ascertained the sufficiency of this survey. She was, therefore, not exempted from duo requirements, nor saved any expenses incurred by others. She was saved by the Act from a needless and simply vexatious second survey, and so put on a par with, not on advantage over, other ships which are only once surveyed at their port of departure.


gave Notice that, as the right hon. Gentleman had entirely misunderstood his Question, he would repeat it to-morrow in a more definite form.