HC Deb 05 August 1912 vol 41 cc2633-4
1. Colonel BURN

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) if his attention has been drawn to the case of the Brixham trawler "Ethel Lilian" BM. 309, which was towing her trawl on 19th July between Start Point and the Eddystone, with the regulation ball hoisted as prescribed, when a French steam trawler "La Champagne" B. 2758 bore down on her and shot their trawling gear when quite close and towed it across the stern of the "Ethel Lilian"; and seeing that the French wire warps cut through the manilla rope of the "Ethel Lilian" and the whole of the fishing gear of the latter, value £40, was lost, will he take immediate steps to deal with this case, and use all the means at his disposal to get ample compensation for the Brixham fishermen for the loss they have sustained; and (2) if his attention has been drawn to the case of the Brixham trawler "Naomi," which was towing her trawl about four miles from Dartmouth, shortly after 12 a.m. on Monday, 29th July, with the regulation light burning, when the French steam trawler "Maria Rose," B. 188, of Boulogne, crossed under her stern and damaged the gear of the "Naomi" to the extent of £30; and will he take immediate steps to get ample compensation for the owner of the "Naomi" for damage sustained?


I understand that this case and that of the "Naomi" have been reported to the Board of Trade, and that the masters of the boats who are bringing claims for compensation against the French owners in the Courts do not desire official intervention at present.

Colonel BURN

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that our men labour under the greatest disadvantage because they cannot speak French, nor can they understand it, and when these matters come before a French tribunal they are distinctly handicapped?


We are aware of that, and we have tried to persuade the French Government to conclude a convention with us similar to that which has been concluded in the North Sea, and we hope to obtain success in that endeavour. We are fully alive to the difficulties of cases such as the hon. Member has mentioned.

Colonel BURN

May I ask—


The hon. and gallant Member must put down any further questions. I would remind him that there are ninety-nine questions on the Paper.