HC Deb 10 August 1914 vol 65 c2241
10. Sir J. D. REES

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the position of British merchants owning goods contained in German or Austrian ships when such ships put into port, such ports being usually British Possessions, in view of the fact that insurance against loss cannot be effected as underwriters will only deal with cargoes contained in British ships; and whether such British merchants stand to lose their goods in case the ships containing such goods are seized by warships of their own nationality or confiscated in a British port?


British goods in an enemy merchant ship cannot be covered by the State Insurance, and it is improbable that any underwriter would take the risk. If the ship puts into a port in a British Possession, or is captured by a British cruiser, the goods are seized with the ship, and the owner would have to prove his title to them in the Prize Court. On good proof being given they would be delivered to him. I cannot undertake to state what may be the procedure of the enemy if he finds British goods in one of his own ships.