HC Deb 08 December 1890 vol 349 cc692-3
MR. LENG (Dundee)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, under "The Merchant Shipping Act, 1854," if a seaman has been seriously injured in the execution of his duty on board his ship, the master of the vessel may land him at a distant foreign port, the owners can immediately stop the wife's half-pay, and their obligation to pay the disabled seaman's wages ceases from the date he is put on shore; whether, if a vessel is lost at sea and all hands perish, the widows and children, or other representatives of the crew, are only paid wages up to the supposed time of the loss of the ship, although the owners, who have insured their freight, recover the whole sum as if the voyage had been completed; and whether, if such cases can and do frequently occur under the present state of the law, he will propose Amendments on the Merchant Shipping Act containing more humane and equitable provisions with reference to the payment of seamen's wages?


The answer to the first question is "Yes;" but it should be added that, if any seaman receives any hurt or injury in the service of the ship to which he belongs, the expense of providing the necessary surgical and medical advice, with attendance and medicines, and of his subsistence until he is cured, or dies, or is brought back to some port in the United Kingdom, if shipped in the United Kingdom, or if shipped in some British Possession to some port in such Possession, and of his conveyance to such port, and the expense (if any) of his burial, shall be defrayed by the owner of such ship, without any deduction on that account from the wages of such seaman. The answer to the second question is also "Yes;" the wages do not accrue after the termination of the service through wreck— see Section 185of "The Merchant Shipping Act, 1854." The insurance of freight is not in any way regulated by this provision. The extension of the Employers' Liability to Seamen contemplated by the Bill of last Session would, of course, provide for further compensation from owners to men injured in their service.