HC Deb 29 June 1938 vol 337 cc1932-3W
Mr. R. Gibson

asked the President of the Board of Trade what were the number of vessels engaged in coastwise trade in the United Kingdom, the average tonnage of each vessel, and the average number of crew and officers therein, for the years 1913 and 1938, respectively?

Mr. R. S. Hudson

The precise information asked for is not available, but on 3rd April, 1911, when the last pre-War census of seamen was held, the number of vessels registered at ports in the United Kingdom and engaged in the coasting trade of the British Isles was 3,433, averaging 126 tons net, with a complement of two officers and five crew per vessel. The corresponding particulars, but relating to the coasting trade of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, ascertained at the census held on the 15th June, 1937, were 904 vessels, averaging 269 tons net, with three officers and eight crew per vessel. The principal cause of the decline in the number of vessels from 3,433 to 904 has been the substantial reduction in the number of sailing vessels, from 1,868 to 194.

Sir R. Tasker

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Board of Trade rules as regards manning, equipment, and pay which are rigidly enforced in the case of British coasters are also enforced of foreign vessels regularly carrying goods from one United Kingdom port to another?

Mr. Cross

The Board of Trade have no power to deal with manning except on grounds of safety, but any ship, British or foreign, found to be unsafe by reason of undermanning would be detained. The requirements as to lifesaving equipment apply equally to British and foreign ships, subject to the provisions of certain agreements with other countries as to the mutual recognition of national standards. Rates of pay in the Mercantile Marine are governed by decisions of the National Maritime Board and apply only to vessels of which the crews are engaged in the United Kingdom on ordinary Board of Trade Articles.