§ MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if he can explain how it happened that Admiral Freemantle, during the recent Anglo-German Blockade on the coast of Africa, hired a small steamer called the Somali, at a cost of £25 per day, costing for about nine months' hire a total sum of £5,000, although he could have purchased the vessel when he chartered her for £4,000; and whether it is true that he has again chartered the vessel for a further period of 12 months at £20 per day, or a total sum of £7,300?
§ * THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord G. HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
The facts of the case are as follows:—The Somali fully found and 69 equipped was hired at £25 a day from May to October, 1889, and then for three months further to the end of January, 1890, at the reduced rate of £12 10s. a day. On the termination of this period it was found necessary to charter her for 12 months further at an increased rate of £20 a day, the owners having represented that the rate of £12 10s. a day had been accepted under the impression that the Admiralty would purchase the vessel at the end of the first 12 months. The charter up to January 31 cost £5,275, and the second charter, if continued for the full 12 months, will coat £7,300. I am not aware that there was any possibility of purchasing the Somali for £4,000. The first charter included an option to purchase the vessel after 12 months' hire for £12,000.