HC Deb 21 January 1878 vol 237 c253

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether he be aware that the Government of the United States taxes the owners of American merchant ships who employ aliens as masters and mates of such ships, while American subjects (in common with all other aliens who can obtain the Board of Trade certificate of competency as master or mate) are now permitted to command and serve on board. British ships either in the Foreign or Coasting trade without any payment whatever; and, whether some remedy cannot be devised and put into operation for a more equitable arrangement between the two countries in this matter?


Sir, by our English law anyone, irrespective of nationality, can be master or mate on board a British ship who obtains a certificate of competency; but by the United States law only citizens of the United States can act as master or chief mate of American vessels leaving American ports, and in case of a vacancy occurring while abroad aliens can only be appointed temporarily for the voyage, subject to report on arrival. I am not aware of any tax or fine on owners of American ships employing aliens, but they cannot do it legally.