HC Deb 22 July 1930 vol 241 cc1919-20

asked the President of the Board of Trade what he proposes to do with regard to the request he has received from the Amalgamated Engineering Union that there should be three qualified engineer mechanics on all vessels of over 1,000 tons?


A compulsory requirement that three engineers should be carried on British steam and motor ships over 1,000 tons gross could only be imposed by legislation. So far as I am aware, there is no evidence that such ships do not, in fact, carry an adequate number of competent engineers, and there is, therefore, no reason to amend the Merchant Shipping Acts in this respect.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that, as stated in the question, the Amalgamated Engineering Union approached him on this matter, and put before him the fact that there are ships sailing without the required number of skilled engineers?

Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT WARD

Would not legislation on these lines have the effect of still further handicapping British shipping in competition with foreign-owned vessels?


In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), I have no information of any violation of the law; that is to say, of the Merchant Shipping Act. On the contrary, it appears that additional engineers are very often carried. But, if my hon. Friend has any specific case, I will make immediate inquiry into it. As regards the second supplementary question, we must, of course, comply with the law in this matter, and I do not think that we are at a disadvantage.


Did not the Amalgamated Engineering Union give the right hon. Gentleman stated cases where this was going on?


I could not charge my memory this afternoon as to the exact form of the communication. I understood that it was a general question as to compliance with the Merchant Shipping Act that was raised, but I will look into that and inform my hon. Friend.

Forward to