HC Deb 24 June 1936 vol 313 cc1751-2
29. Mr. DAY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in what circumstances the motor trawler "Girl Pat" was arrested and detained by Government officials and the police at Georgetown, British Guiana; for what reasons the officers on board the Government's launch "Pomeroon" fired on or at the "Girl Pat"; and whether it is the intention of the Government to assist the crew of the "Girl Pat" back to England?


According to a report which I have received from the Governor of British Guiana, the facts are as follow: On the evening of 18th June, a vessel believed to be the "Girl Pat" anchored within the three-mile limit of the Colony. A police launch, sent to inquire into the vessel's identity was refused permission to go alongside, and threats were made to sink the launch if endeavours were made to board the vessel. On the Governor's instructions, police and customs officials returned on 19th June on the "Pomeroon" and were resisted with similar threats. The vessel made off and was chased for some 12 miles from shore, when she surrendered, having run out of fuel. The vessel proved to be the "Girl Pat" and came quietly to port. A warrant for the arrest of the captain and the detention of the vessel was issued at the request of Lloyd's agent in Georgetown, but was subsequently withdrawn. I have no information that the officers on board the "Pomeroon" fired on or at the "Girl Pat." With regard to the last part of the question, I am advised that any question of assisting the crew is a matter for the local shipping master.


The last part of the question also refers to Henry Stone, who was left in hospital at Dacca.


I shall be obliged if the hon. Member will put that question down another day. Dacca is in French territory.


Why it it that Lloyd's have power to have warrants issued and people detained and then withdrawn at their own request? How do they get that power?


I am not familiar with the details of the Merchant Shipping Acts and the rights of owners and insurers of vessels in these circumstances. The arrest was obviously made in the first instance because the vessel refused to allow the police to board her to ascertain the facts, and apparently withdrawn because it eventually came quietly into port. Any further proceedings are hardly a matter for me.

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