§ Mr. HARTSHORN
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shipping Controller if he will state the tonnage of the British Mercantile Marine as far as it consists of ocean-going steamships of 1,600 gross tons and upwards; how much of this tonnage is now under requisition at Blue Book rates by the Government; and what proportion of the tonnage of other than fully requisitioned ships is reserved for Government imports at Blue Book rates or special rates?
Excluding tankers, there are 3,014 British ocean-going steamships of 14,024,482 gross tons. On 31st October there were 109 such vessels of 468,016 gross tons on requisition at Blue Book rates. Fifty per cent, of the space of the liners is at the disposal of the Ministry of Shipping for the carriage of Government imports at the equivalent of Blue Book rates. The balance of Government requirements is met by the direction of tramps from time to time, and in each case of a tramp so directed it is the present practice of the Ministry to require at least 80 per cent, of the space for Government cargo.