Mr. MARK SYKES
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his atten- 2033W tion has been drawn to the conduct of the Asiatic seamen on board the Peninsular and Oriental steamer "Oceana," when that ship was in collision on the morning of 16th March; and whether he will consider the advisability of further increasing by regulation the proportion of British seamen on ships belonging to lines which enjoy the privilege of carrying His Majesty's Mails?
My attention has been drawn to newspaper reports concerning the conduct of the Asiatic seamen on board the "Oceana." I have ordered an inquiry into the circumstances attending this unfortunate disaster. There are no Board of Trade regulations governing the nationality of seamen engaged on British ships, but I understand that the Post Office insert in their more important contracts certain stipulations in regard to the composition of the crews of the mail steamers.