HC Deb 02 May 1889 vol 335 cc982-3

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he could state the number of seamen sent to their homes from the Clyde through the Board of Trade steamer Gadfly during the last three years; and the total annual cost of maintaining this steamer, including all charges; and whether the work connected with carrying out the transmission service on the Clyde could be accomplished more economically by the staff of the Mercantile Marine Office in Greenock than under the existing system?


The following is the number of seamen sent to their homes from the Clyde through the Gadfly in the years ending March 31st, 1887, 1,024; March 31st. 1888, 1,078; and March 31st, 1889, 1,400, at a cost of £1,418 6s. 8d., or an average of £472 15s. 7d. per annum. There is also a staff of River Police at Gourock, whose cost during the last year was £886 10s. 4d. A small percentage of the work only could be done without the Gadfly, unless row boats were substituted for her, and the cost of maintenance of the ship and of the working of the scheme would not be reduced by transferring the work to other management. I must add that the transmission service is only a part of the services on which the Gadfly and her staff are employed. For instance, to facilitate the trade of the Clyde, the staff connected with the Gadfly witnessed the engagement of over 1,500 seamen on board ship during the year. She and her staff are not instituted with reference to the requirements of Greenock alone, but of the whole trade and seamen of the Clyde.