HC Deb 25 May 1911 vol 26 c446

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the attitude taken up by the Shipping Federation, as representing the shipowners, in refusing to agree to the formation of a conciliation board, he will intimate to the shipowners that in the event of a strike of seamen the law relating to the engagement and supply of seamen will be rigidly enforced, and that the engagement of all crews shall take place at the Mercantile Marine office, so as to prevent the illegal supply of inefficient men; and whether he will also insist that the crews engaged shall be efficient sailors, firemen, cooks, and stewards?


The provisions of the law in regard to the engagement and supply of seamen are strictly and impartially enforced at all times. There is no law requiring the engagement of all crews to take place at a Mercantile Marine office; but if seamen are illegally supplied the Board of Trade will institute legal proceedings whenever sufficient evidence is forthcoming. Certain British foreign-going ships are required to carry a duly certificated cook; and the Board have issued instructions with the object of securing a sufficient number of efficient deck-hands on vessels proceeding to sea from the United Kingdom. They have not issued, nor have they power to issue, any instructions with the object of securing efficient stewards, as the competency of these men is a matter for the master and officers of the ship. As regards the firemen, if a ship is unseaworthy from any cause, including undermanning, she is liable to be detained.