ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Consuls at New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Portland (Oregon), Boston, Rio de Janeiro, Rosario, and Marseilles can be called upon to report in their annual Returns their views as to the causes of the large number or desertions of seamen from British ships in their respective ports, amounting in the aggregate to over 14,000 per annum; the amount of unpaid wages left behind by the seamen so deserting; and what steps, if any, they would recommend should be taken to remedy this great evil?
I shall have pleasure in instructing Her Majesty's Consuls at the ports named by my honourable and gallant Friend to report upon the subject of desertions of British seamen. But I think it will be preferable that these reports should be furnished separately rather than included in the annual reland at Talienwan or in the Leao-tong 395 in a position to supply particulars about the unpaid wages, which are dealt with in accordance with section 232 of the Merchant Shipping Act, and the accounts of which are not rendered to them.
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will endeavour to obtain similar information as to the causes of desertion of seamen, from the Colonial authorities, in the ports of Sydney and Newcastle (New South Wales), also of Melbourne, Cape Town, and Montreal; the amount of unpaid wages left behind by the seamen; and what steps, if any, they would recommend should be taken to remedy the evil?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
I will endeavour to obtain from the Governments of Canada, New South Wales, Victoria, and the Cape the information desired by the honourable and gallant Member.