HC Deb 16 December 1908 vol 198 cc1857-8
MR. WALSH (Lancashire, Ince)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the suicide at sea of a fireman named Altorallee Ariff Meah on the steamship "Kassanga," of London, on 6th of September, 1908; whether any inquiry was held, whether the seaman was medically examined before joining the ship, and whether he had any previous sea service; whether the Board of Trade surveyors have satisfactorily reported upon the ventilation of the stokehold; if he can state the amount of coal the fireman and trimmers were required to work in each twenty-four hours; and whether any previous cases of suicide, supposed suicide, or disappearance amongst stokehold hands have occurred on this ship.


Yes, Sir. Inquiry was held by the Shipping Master at Chittagong. The man was engaged at Calcutta and had previously served as fireman, but I am not aware whether he had been medically examined. As the vessel has not returned to this country since she sailed on her first voyage, the Board of Trade surveyors have not had an opportunity since the date of the occurrence of reporting on the ventilation of the stoke-hold. The consumption of coal was thirty-six tons per twenty-four hours, and the number of firemen and trimmers was eighteen. No previous case of suicide, supposed suicide, or disappearance in this vessel has been reported.


Is it likely natives of India commit suicide on account of want of ventilation in stokeholds?


Is it not the fact that a considerable number of firemen do commit suicide?

[No Answer was returned.]