HC Deb 07 November 1916 vol 87 cc55-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can state the number of British ships sold to neutral shipowners since the outbreak of war; and also the total tonnage of such vessels?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

The total number of British vessels of all kinds transferred to neutral flags from the 1st August, 1914, to the 31st October, 1916, is 253, with a total gross tonnage of 477,856 tons. Of this amount 344,053 tons were sold before the Government obtained power to control transfers, and a great part of this was tonnage that was already owned by neutral firms; 28,749 tons is Colonial tonnage; and 36,118 tons is sailing-ship tonnage. There were, in addition, three vessels with a tonnage of 10,082, which were placed temporarily on the British register in process of transfer from one foreign flag to another. The steam tonnage registered in the United Kingdom which has been sold to neutrals since 12th February, 1915, the date on which Government control became operative, is 58,853.