HC Deb 21 March 1898 vol 55 c408

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that seamen, upon being engaged to serve on British registered sailing ships at the port of New York, U.S.A., "sign on" to receive three months' advance of wages, the larger portion of which goes into the pockets of "shipping masters" and "crimps"; whether he is aware that Section 140 of The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, provides that such advances shall not exceed one month's wages; and whether he will caused to be issued to H.B.M. Consul General at New York instructions that in future seamen will only be permitted to receive, on signing on, one month's advance of wages, in accordance with Section 140 of The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894?


I am aware that Section 140 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, limits a conditional advance to a seaman to the amount of one month's wages, but that, as the Board of Trade are advised, is only when he goes to sea from a port in the United Kingdom. As to the practice at New York I am informed that advances in excess of one month's wages are given, but I am not able to say what becomes of the money.