HC Deb 15 July 1901 vol 97 cc432-4

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to a case at South Shields where three seamen of the steamship "Mayfield" were awarded compensation by the bench of magistrates for receiving insufficient food on board ship, and, seeing that the meat on the "Mayfield" was unfit for use, and the biscuits in such small quantities that each sailor received but one a day, whether the Board of Trade will take steps against the owner of this vessel for not having made proper provision for the feeding of the crew.

I beg also to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been directed to the case of the crew of the British steamship "Mayfield," whether he is aware that the superintendent of the mercantile marine at the port of North Shields has reported to the Board that this crew upon being discharged from this vessel complained of having been kept on short provisions for forty days, and that they claimed compensation for this treatment at the time of their discharge; whether he is aware that the superintendent adjudicated in the case of certain of the crew and awarded them only 5s. each as compensation, and, seeing that four other members of the same crew objected to such adjudication and instituted proceedings before the South Shields magistrates, who awarded the men £2 1s. each and 18s. each for loss of time, whether he will cause inquiries to be made as to the reasons of the North Shields superintendent for making the award mentioned.


My attention was first called to the case referred to by the hon. Member by notices of his questions, which I will answer together. I have communicated with the superintendent at North Shields and with the owner of the "Mayfield." There can be no doubt, I think, that the food supplied during part of the voyage was bad. The superintendent did not adjudicate in any way, but three of the men took the case into court and obtained compensation, the rest accepting their wages without demanding any addition by way of compensation. The owner assures me that it was his wish that proper and sufficient food should be provided. He is making further inquiries, and I shall doubtless hear the result, when I will further consider the case.


May I ask if the Board of Trade authorities make any provision for the inspecting of the provisions put on board ships of this kind, and, if so, was it done in this case?


Certainly they make provision. I am inquiring into the present case.

MR. NANNETTI (Dublin, College Green)

What progress has been made with the inquiry which has been promised into these matters?


That does not arise out of the question.