§ 59. Mr. WILKIE
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the London and South-Western Railway Company are replacing their bonâ fide ships' carpenters on their cross-Channel steamers by men who are not ships' carpenters and providing them with uniform and tools, and who, in the event of accident or collision, would be inefficient for the protection of life and property at sea, and thus endanger the safety of the travelling public; if this is so, will he state whether this is in accordance with the Regulations of the Board of Trade and the Merchant Shipping Acts; and will he see, in the interest and security of the travelling public, that his Department issues such instructions as will ensure that men signed on as ships' carpenters arebonâ fidetrained and efficient artisans?
I have communicated with the London and South-Western Railway Company, and they inform me that there is not sufficient work in their vessels for ships' carpenters, and that they are now engaging men as seamen carpenters, some of whom have had their training in the carpentry trade. There is no provision of the Merchant Shipping Acts or Regulation of the Board of Trade which requires a ship's carpenter to be engaged as a member of a ship's crew, and the Board of Trade cannot, therefore, issue any instruction of the kind suggested in my hon. Friend's question.