§ Mr. Cryer
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Keighley of 19 February, how the three Indian crew members refused entry were defined as not being regular seamen; and if he will confirm that these three were employed on the vessel "Athina B".364W
§ Mr. Raison
Inquiries by the immigration service revealed that the seagoing employment of two of the three detained, all of whom were employed on "Athina B", began when they joined the ship on 13 August 1979 at Emden and on 21 December 1979 at La Rochelle. Before then they had worked, respectively, in a restaurant and as a motor mechanic. The third had been in seagoing employment since October 1978, having been employed before then as a mechanic and a factory worker, and having joined the ship on 21 January 1979.
The term "non-professional" or "non-regular" seamen is used to denote crew members with little or no previous sea experience who are engaged to perform miscellaneous unskilled tasks. Experience has shown that there is a high risk that they may attempt to desert when their ships call at ports in the United Kingdom.