Mr. CATHCART WASON
asked if mail and passenger steamers trading to the West Indies and South American ports are absolutely free of control from the supervision of the Board of Trade in respect of deck passengers embarked at other ports than in the United Kingdom, or if it is within the power of the Board of Trade to insist that the number of deck passengers carried on any British ship to and from distant ports shall be duly recorded in the log book, stating the number of passengers so carried, the food supplied them, and the accommodation and sanitation provided?
The case of an emigrant ship which took in passengers beyond the proper number at ports abroad could be dealt with by the forfeiture of the bond entered into before leaving the United Kingdom. As regards passenger steamers not clearing as emigrant ships, such vessels are governed throughout their voyage by the conditions laid down in the passenger certificate, and may not carry at any time passengers in excess of the number allowed by the certificate. If the Board of Trade received information at any time that a passenger steamer carried more passengers than the law allowed they would at once take steps to secure, if the offence could be proved, the imposition of the penalty provided. If the owner of a passenger steamer made special application to the Board of Trade for permission to carry deck passengers between ports abroad, the Board would, if satisfied that deck passengers could properly be allowed on the voyage, prescribe the conditions, as to numbers, accommodation (including sanitation), and life-saving appliances under which the deck passengers could be carried, but the whole number of passengers must not exceed the number laid down in the passenger certificate. I am advised that the Hoard of Trade have no power to require the particulars mentioned by my hon. Friend to be recorded in the official log book.