§ MR. YERBURGH (Chester)
To ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade whether he is aware that a pilotage certificate was granted by the Board to the master of a Dutch vessel after the Bristol Pilotage Committee had refused to grant him one on the ground of his being a foreigner; and will he say whether the Bristol Pilotage Committee had power to refuse the grant of a pilotage certificate on the above-mentioned ground; and, if so, for what reason was their decision set aside.
(Answered by Mr. Bonar Law.) A. pilotage certificate was recently granted after examination by the Board of Trade in the circumstances stated in the Question. It is entirely within the discretion of a pilotage authority to decide whether or not they will examine, and, if satisfied, grant a pilotage certificate to the master or mate of any ship applying for a certificate. It is, however, provided by Section 600 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, that, "if it appears to the Board of Trade upon complaint made to them that a pilotage authority have," without reasonable cause, refused to examine a master or mate or to grant such a certificate, the Board may, if the circumstances of the case appear to them to require it, exercise the. powers of the pilotage authority in this 281 respect. Having regard to the decision arrived at by a Select Committee of the House of Commons in the year 1888, and subsequently discussed in Parliament, and approved by Section 1 of The Merchant Shipping (Pilotage) Act, 1889, which is incorporated in The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, the Board are unable to hold that the fact of an applicant being an officer of a foreign ship affords reasonable ground for refusal to examine him or to grant him a certificate.