HC Deb 20 December 1915 vol 77 cc9-10
13. Mr. GRANT

asked whether a number of British-owned ships have been sold to foreigners since the outbreak of war; whether such ships are now available for conveying supplies to the enemy; and whether he will issue a return giving the names and tonnage of such ships and the names of their late British owners?


A certain number of British vessels have been transferred to foreign flags since the outbreak of war. In the case of all transfers effected since the Government obtained full control over this matter special and reliable guarantees have been obtained that the vessels would not be used in any way, directly or indirectly, for the benefit of the enemy. Particulars of all ships transferred from the British Register are given in a monthly Return issued by the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen. I am sending the hon. Gentleman a set of these Returns.


Would it not be possible, inasmuch as a number of these transferred vessels were owned by British shipowners, to call these gentlemen to account?


Since the Government took control of the transfers every case has been carefully examined by the Admiralty and the Board of Trade, and a sufficient case has had to be made out before the transfer is allowed. I would like to add that we have refused transfers in a great many cases.

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