HC Deb 11 July 1928 vol 219 cc2211-2
9. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether an estimate has been formed of the cost of the assistance rendered to the "Jervis Bay"; and whether this expense will be charged to the owners of that vessel?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Bridgeman)

I have not yet got details of the cost, but it will be about £500. As regards the second part of the question, a definite answer cannot be given until the full circumstances are known. It is the duty of His Majesty's ships to afford every possible aid to vessels in danger or distress, and if the services Tendered come under the heading of salvage services, the Crown is precluded from claiming expenses, under Section 557 of the Merchant Shipping Act.


In the case of the "Jervis Bay," there can be no question of salvage, because there was no real cause for anxiety. In that case, are we to understand that the Crown will have no claim at all on the shipping company?


The right hon. Gentleman must have more information than I have, if he is able to satisfy himself that there was no need for the action that was taken by the captain of the "Jervis Bay." I prefer to wait until I hear a proper account of the circumstances. The word "salvage" is interpreted in a pretty wide sense to include such things as mutiny, disorder, piracy, and so on. I have taken legal opinion in this matter from the best advisers, and I think that it deserves attention; the word "salvage" cannot be interpreted in a narrow sense, so that if any mutiny or piracy or plunder were concerned, that would be covered by the word "salvage."


If mutiny was mentioned in the telegram, and it did not actually take place, would there then be a claim?