HC Deb 15 June 1911 vol 26 cc1663-4

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that out of the ten Chinese firemen who recently signed on the British steamer "Persiana," at Barry, six gave their birthplace as Hong Kong and a German vessel as their last ship; if he is aware that one of the Chinamen, Ah Sang, gave as his last ship the s.s. "English Monarch"; if he is aware that Ah Sang has not served on the s.s. "English Monarch"; if he is aware that none of the ten Chinese in question produced a discharge certificate at the time of signing on; if he can state what evidence was produced by the six men who gave a German ship as their last ship to prove Hong Kong as their birthplace; if he can state if the six men who gave a German ship as their last ship were discharged from that German ship in this country, and if not discharged in this country how they arrived here; what action, if any, he proposes to take in the matter; and whether the Board of Trade propose to take any action against Ah Sang for having given false particulars at the time he signed articles on the s.s. "Persiana"?


Eleven Chinese seamen were engaged on the steamship "Persiana" at Barry on 16th May, comprising nine firemen, one donkeyman, and a firemen's cook. Ten of those gave their birthplace as Hong Kong, but none produced any evidence in support, and the language test was applied to all before they were allowed to be engaged. One of the Chinese produced a discharge book; but I may remind my hon. Friend that the Merchant Shipping Acts do not require the production of any certificates of discharge by seamen serving on British ships. Ah Sang, who was engaged on the steamship "Persiana," did not state that his last ship was the steamship "English Monarch"; this statement was made by "Chum Yow," whom I have reason to believe to be the same as "Chang Yow," who served on the steamship "English Monarch" from 17th August, 1909, to 15th April, 1911. I have no information as to the manner in which Chinese seamen who may have last served in a German ship have come to this country. In the circumstances the case does not appear to be one in which the Board of Trade can take any useful action.