HC Deb 07 June 1917 vol 94 cc334-5
81. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that when a merchant ship is torpedoed and sunk the wages of the sailors and firemen are stopped; that they have to trust to the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society to bring them home; and that no allowance is made for the loss of kit and clothes; and if the Government intend taking any action in the matter with a view of seeing that in all such cases the men receive full and adequate compensation?


Under the Merchant Shipping Acts the legal right to wages terminates on the loss of the ship, and payment of wages beyond this date, though made in some cases, cannot be claimed as a legal right.

If seamen are landed at a port abroad they are sent home at the expense of the ship or of public funds, but there is no statutory provision for sending men landed at one port in the United Kingdom to another port, and a great deal of good work has been done in this connection by the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society and the British and Foreign Sailors' Society.

As regards loss of kit and clothes adequate compensation is paid in all cases where these have been insured, either by the men themselves or by the owners, under the Government scheme, the premium for which is 2s. for £5. In the case of vessels on Government service the compensation is given without payment of any premium.


Does not the Government think that subsistence allowance should be given, in view of the fact that these ships are sunk in time of national emergency?


The whole question is under consideration. I will bear the suggestion in mind.

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