§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the attention of the Board of Trade has been directed to the percentage of British merchant crews who desert their ships at San Francisco, forfeiting their wages and effects, in contrast with those of French ships, whose owners have a pecuniary interest in retaining them; and whether he will confer with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with a view to amending the Merchant Shipping Act, Section 232, so as to assimilate the procedure in regard to unpaid† See (4) Debates, exviii., 1344.1237 wages of deserters to that provided in the case of seamen deceased, or will otherwise deal with the matter.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
My attention has been called to the percentage of British merchant seamen who desert at San Francisco, forfeiting their wages and effects, as compared with the percentage of deserters from French vessels at the same port, and the matter has been referred to in official documents which I have received from the United States. The question of amending Section 232 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, is under my consideration, and the Board of Trade are in communication with various bodies representing British shipowners on the subject.