§ Mr. STEWART
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping whether he is aware of the facts relating to the claim of Mr. E. H. S. Cooke, late chief officer of the ss. "Charles Tellier," owned by the Ministry of Shipping, for payment of overtime worked by him and due under the overtime clause contained in the articles, which overtime had been certified by the master; that representations were made to the Ministry by the Mercantile Marine Service Association on behalf of Mr. Cooke in November, 1919, and again by their solicitors in a letter on the 17th March, 1920, and that in accordance with a request from the Director of Transports and Shipping the solicitors sent to him on the 27th April, 1920, a copy extract from the ship's articles, and that since that date they have on 1364W three occasions written to the Director of Shipping pressing for a reply, but all their letters have been ignored and no reply received; and whether he will cause immediate inquiries to be made into the facts and a settlement to be made of this claim which relates to a period over 12 months back?
A correspondence was conducted with the Mercantile Marine Service Association, as a result of which a payment was made in December last to Mr. Cooke which was considered to be a full settlement. Subsequently the matter was taken up by the solicitors, who put forward a claim for salvage. This involved reference to the legal advisers, and subsequently the claim for salvage was dropped and a claim for overtime substituted. The extract from the articles was submitted as stated in the question, but it was considered desirable that the complete articles should be inspected. Unfortunately, these have been mislaid and the whole question deferred. Should these articles not be found promptly the question will be dealt with on its merits on the extract furnished.