HC Deb 14 July 1904 vol 138 cc48-9
MR. RUNCIMAN (Dewsbury)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Government has yet received the detailed reasons given by the Prize Court at Vladivostock for the seizure by a Russian cruiser and the condemnation by the Prize Court of the British steamship "Allanton," which was recently on passage from Muroran to Singapore with a cargo of Japanese coal consigned to a neutral; if not, whether the Government is aware that the owner of the "Allanton" has received from the master of the vessel the reasons given to him in writing by the Court, namely, that the vessel was steaming throught the Japanese Sea instead of through the Pacific; that her cabin boy was Japanese: that there was an absence of proof that the cargo had been sold to a neutral purchaser; and that the Judge was convinced that the vessel was bound to a Japanese or Korean port; whether the Government is aware that the "Allan-ton" was carrying a copy of her charter party and a copy of her bill of lading consigning the cargo to Messrs. Paterson, Simons, and Company, a British firm at Singapore; that the route from Muroran to Singapore through the Japanese Sea is 200 miles shorter than by the Pacific, and is therefore that usually followed by merchant vessels on this voyage; whether, even if her cargo is held to be contraband and therefore seizable, the Government has protested or will protest against the condemnation of the vessel in addition to the cargo; or, in view of all the circumstrnces, what other steps the Government is now prepared to take.


His Majesty's Government have been made aware, through the owner and other parties interested in this vessel, of the statement contained in the hon. Gentleman's Question with regard to the seizure of the "Allanton." His Majesty's Ambassador at St. Petersburg has pressed the Russian Government for an official statement of the grounds on which the vessel was condemned by the Prize Court at Vladivostock and has been promised a definite reply. On the 7th inst., His Majesty's Ambassador was informed that a further telegram had been sent to Vladivostock pressing for the information required. One month is allowed in which to lodge an appeal from the Prize Court in the first instance to the Admiralty Council at St. Petersburg, and His Majesty's Ambassador has been requested to be informed of the date on which such appeal will be heard. He has been further instructed to represent to the Russian Government the loss to which the owner is exposed by the continued detention of the vessel and to represent that there should be no delay in dealing with the case.