§ Mr. HAVELOCK WILSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the British steamer "Myrtledene" engaged a crew of Chinese seamen at the port of Shanghai on the 19th September, 1908, for a period of 18 months, the agreement to expire at a port in China; whether he is aware that the master of the "Myrtledene" discharged these Chinamen at Newcastle-on-Tyne on the 2nd March, 1909, leaving the men destitute and only paying their fares to Liverpool, where they now remain, unable to obtain employment; and whether the Board of Trade intends to take any action in the matter with a view of compelling the owners of the "Myrtledene" to repatriate the Chinamen back to their own country?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Twenty-four seamen who formed the Chinese crew of the s.s. "Myrtledene" were discharged by mutual consent at Newcastle, receiving the full balance of wages due to them. I am informed by the owners that they were prepared to keep the men on board until the vessel again proceeded to the East, or until other arrangements could be made for their repatriation; but the men insisted on their discharge. Should they156W fail to secure employment, and become destitute and chargeable on the poor rate, the owners would, under Section 184 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, be liable to a penalty or the cost of their repatriation.