HC Deb 27 January 1913 vol 47 cc962-3
21 and 22. Mr. PETO

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he can now state what steps he is taking in order that there may be some reasonable limitations of the hours of daily duty imposed upon the officers of merchant ships, more particularly in those vessels carrying two officers only; and whether anything in a similar way is being done as regards the hours of labour of officers of ships when in port either at home or abroad; and (2) whether he is aware of the amount of Sunday labour which the officers of British merchant ships are called upon to perform on board their ships both in home ports and ports abroad; whether he is familiar with the laws prevailing in other maritime countries imposing reasonable limitations as regards Sunday labour and undue hours of labour of their seamen; and whether he is taking any steps for the purpose of dealing with Sunday labour in British merchant ships when in port for which, in most cases, officers receive no additional remuneration whatever?


I am now considering in conjunction with the Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee the question of the amendments which are desirable, on general grounds, in the law relating to the number of certificated officers required to be carried upon British merchant ships. I am aware that officers of British merchant ships are sometimes called upon to perform duties on Sundays when in port. An account of the legislation, in so far as any existed at the time, in other maritime countries on the subject of hours of labour at sea and in port and Sunday labour in their mercantile marine, was included in a Return presented to the House of Lords in February, 1908; and steps are now being taken to bring the information contained in that Return up to date. The Board of Trade have no power to take any action with a view to regulating the amount of Sunday labour in the British mercantile marine.

23. Mr. PETO

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to the accommodation provided on merchant ships for officers and men and to the animadversions contained in their reports on this matter of the medical officers of health at London, Newport (Mon.), and elsewhere, he is taking any steps in the direction of substantially increasing the medical staff of the Board of Trade in order that all such accommodation shall be officially inspected during the construction of merchant ships, and subsequently supervised from time to time by medical inspectors of the Board of Trade?


The reports referred to by the hon. Member have been carefully examined and questions as to the accommodation of officers and crew on board ship are now being considered.


Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the case of the small passenger vessel "Lapwing," which recently went ashore while in charge of an officer who had been continuously on duty for thirty-three hours, with the exception of three-quarters of an hour for rest?


The hon. Gentleman should give notice of that question.