HC Deb 05 November 1909 vol 12 cc2250-1W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has observed, in the recently issued Statistics of Compensation (Cd. 4894), that while the number of deaths from accidents during 1908 in vessels registered under the Merchant Shipping Act is given as 999 the cases in which compensation was paid during the same year are 371; whether he can state what proportion of the 999 deaths were those of persons not of British nationality; and whether, seeing that such distinction confers a preference for the employment of foreign workers, he can devise a means for acquainting the dependants in such cases of their claim to compensation allowances?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. The statistics of compensation were issued by my direction, and I am aware of the figures mentioned. Of the 999 seamen killed by accident, 661 were inhabitants of the United Kingdom, or about two-thirds of the whole number; 45 were Colonials, 51 Lascars, and the remaining 242 of foreign nationality. It is obvious, therefore, that the difference between the number of fatal accidents and the number of cases in which compensation was paid was not wholly or largely due to the fact that the persons killed were foreigners. As regards the suggestion in the last part of the question, it is understood, as stated in the statistics, that the rights given by the Act are generally well known to foreign seamen, and that numerous claims are received; and I am of the opinion, in which my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade concurs, that no special steps are necessary to bring the provisions of the Act to their notice.