HC Deb 03 December 1908 vol 197 c1622

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether it has been brought to his notice that the owners of the steamer "Carts-dyke," now bound from Bilbao, Spain, to Ayr, Scotland, is carrying a number of Spaniards who are to be engaged as the crew of the "Cartsdyke" in place of the men now serving on the vessel; whether he will take steps to insist that the language test will be applied to the Spaniards so as to see that they can comply with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1906; and whether, in view of the number of unemployed in the United Kingdom at present, he will bring to the notice of the shipowners generally that by bringing in foreign labour numbers of our own countrymen are being thrown out of employment.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) The "Cartsdyke" arrived at Ayr on 24th November. Inquiry has been made into the matter referred to in the Question, and I am informed that no foreign seamen have been brought to this country in the vessel as passengers for the purpose of being engaged in place of the men serving during the recent voyage. The provisions of Section 12 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1906, will be enforced in this and all similar cases, but I do not see my way to issue a general communication to shipowners in the sense suggested by my hon. friend.