§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether he has received complaints of cruelty practised towards the officers and crew of the British barque Killeena, Captain Blake, and whether any, and what, action has been taken thereon; whether the complaints included the allegation of the non-issue of lime juice for 42 days on a voyage between foreign ports, and whether the present law is insufficient to meet this; and, whether such complaints also include the illegal imprisonment of two 1162 men, Smith and Malmberg, at Talcahuano, and what, if any, action has been taken thereon?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
Complaints of harsh treatment at sea and in foreign ports were received from certain members of the crew of the Killeena. The Board obtained statements from all witnesses whose whereabouts could be traced. These statements do not contain allegations of gross misconduct, drunkenness, or tyranny on the part of the master such as would, under the statute, have justified the Board of Trade in sending the case to a Local Marine Board for investigation, with a view to the suspension of the master's certificate; but the Board called the attention of the owner of the Killeena to the complaints. The complaints included the allegation of the non-issue of lime juice. The present law does not cover cases of British vessels which do not begin their voyage in the United Kingdom. The Killeena was on a passage from one foreign port to another on the occasion referred to; but I find that, as the voyage commenced in the United Kingdom originally, the law is strong enough to meet such a case, and it will be enforced in the event of any future cases being reported. The complaints included the allegation of imprisonment. This has been investigated by direction of the Foreign Office; and Her Majesty's Consul at Valparaiso has taken steps with a view to prevent the imprisonment of any British seamen at Talcahuano without an order from the British Vice Consul at that port.