§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
This, my Lords, is a Bill for the purpose of amending certain provisions in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, which referred to the employment of pilots and the conditions of their employment. No great change in the law is made, but it is not surprising that, after the lapse of 35 years, certain difficulties should have arisen and certain improvements in the law have become necessary. A good deal of correspondence has taken place in regard to the amendments of the law now proposed, and a Select Committee of the other House of Parliament sat nearly the whole of last Session inquiring into matters which were brought before them in respect to which it was thought the present law of pilotage required amendment. The Bill which is now before your Lordships 576 consists almost entirely of detail, and the Amendments which it effects in the law proceed almost entirely upon the lines of the recommendations of the Select Committee. Provision is made for the further representation of shipowners and pilots upon the Board or Pilotage Authority of the district in which they are interested, and by the 4th Clause provision is made for allowing pilots who are aggrieved by any decision which may be come to by the Pilotage Authority to appeal either to the Judge of the County Court or to a Metropolitan Police or Stipendiary Magistrate. When such an appeal takes place, the Judge or Magistrate is to sit with an assessor of nautical and pilotage experience. There are also provisions for more stringent penalties for manifest and palpable evasions of the law. For example, if the master of a vessel flies a flag which is a colourable imitation of the flag which ought to be at the masthead when a pilot is on board, and that flag is obviously placed there for the purpose of deception, a penalty is imposed. Power is given to the Board of Trade and to the Pilotage Authority to make bye laws with regard to Superannuation Funds in which pilots are interested. The penalties upon employing unqualified pilots are made more stringent. The general provisions of the Bill have been accepted by those interested, and I now ask your Lordships to give it a Second Reading.
§ Bill read 2a (according to Order) and committed to a Committee of the whole House to-morrow.