HC Deb 17 February 1891 vol 350 c833
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the case of the British steamer, Arbib Brothers, recently arrested in Algiers on a claim for salvage; whether it is true, as stated In the Moniteur de l'Algerie, of the 27th ultimo, that the Compagnie Transatlantique, the plaintiff in the salvage suit, anchored one of their vessels with an armed crew alongside the Arbib Brothers, with the avowed intention of forcibly preventing her from escaping, in case of her attempting to do so; and, if so, whether this step was taken under the authority of any French Law Court or Government Department; and, if not, whether any remonstrances have been addressed to the French Government against a proceeding calculated to provoke violence, and lead to International difficulties?


The circumstances as stated in the question are substantially correct. The British vessel was disabled not far from Algiers, and was brought into that port by a steamer belonging to the "Compagnie Transatlantique," the agent of which company then made a claim for salvage. The agent alleged that the Arbib Brothers was about to proceed to sea and to escape payment; a seizure was laid upon the vessel, and on a tug steamer arriving from London the other steps mentioned were taken. The owners would have their remedy at law for any illegal procedure. The only apparent ground of complaint on the part of Her Majesty's Government was in the omission to inform the British Consul General of the procedure against the ship; but, as we have no Consular Convention, this involved no more than a breach of courtesy, and we have no ground for formal representation.


In Committee of Supply I shall call attention to this case.