§ MR. MACDONA (Southwark, Rotherhithe)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, with reference to the proposal made in a Circular of the Board of Trade to the Mercantile Marine Service Association, to confer the rank of Captain, Commander, and Master upon members of the Merchant Service who had passed special examinations for each of the said ranks, in order to raise the status of this important National Service, whether the Board of Trade has dropped the matter; and, if so, would he explain on what grounds; and whether he will in the next Session bring in a Bill to carry their proposal into effect?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. BURT,) Morpeth
I am not aware that any such proposal as that referred to by the hon. Member has been made by the Board of Trade. In a Circular Letter, dated August 28, 1891, which invited observations upon a letter received from the Shipmasters' and Officers' Federation, the Board of Trade stated that a suggestion had been made to the Department that, in addition to the present grade of Master, two higher grades should be constituted giving to those who were able to pass the appropriate examination the right to style themselves Commander and Captain respectively in the Mercantile Marine. The suggestion was not favourably 1784 received, and I would remind the hon. Member that Masters can, under existing Regulations, obtain an extra-Master's certificate upon passing a higher standard of examination, but that comparatively few Masters avail themselves of this opportunity.