§ Mr. Higgins
asked the Minister for Trade what compensation will be payable by Her Majesty's Government in respect of the requisitioning of ships for use in the South Atlantic.
§ Mr. Sproat
Compensation will be payable to shipowners as provided for under section 4 of the Compensation (Defence) Act 1939 in respect of:
- (1) the loss of use of the vessel during the period of requisition. This will be a bare boat charter rate which will include a profit element for the ship owner;
- (2) expenses in connection with the running of the vessel in cases where it has been agreed that this service will be provided;
- (3) the cost of making good any damage to the vessel;
- (4) in a case of a total loss of the vessel, a sum equal to its value immediately before occurrence of the damage causing its loss;
- (5) expenses reasonably incurred for the purpose of complying with the Requisition Order.
In addition the Government are willing to enter into agreements with shipowners as envisaged in section 15 of the 1939 Act which will provide for payments to be made in respect of:
- (6) any profit which might reasonably have been expected to be earned by the ship during the period of requisition insofar as that profit is not covered by section 4;
- (7) payments in respect of the period of requisition due to third parties, arising from contractual obligations entered into prior to the requisition, directly connected with the operation of the ship, and not covered by Section 4;
- (8) other expenses reasonably incurred during the period of and attributable to the requisition;
- (9) loss of profit for a period not exceeding six months after the period of requisition being profit which might, but for the requisition, have reasonably been expected to be earned by the ship;
- (10) any other loss suffered by the claimant during a period of not more than six months after the period of requisition if that loss was reasonably foreseeable as a result of the requisition.
The provisions covered in (6) — (10) above are subject to the proviso that no account will be taken of any loss if the claimant has not taken all reasonable steps to avoid or minimise that loss.
The period of six months in (9) and (10) above has been chosen as one in which any loss directly resulting from the requisition could be expected to arise. In exceptional circumstances and where loss which is clearly a result of the requisition arises after this period of six months, the Government will give special consideration to the claim.
The Lord Chancellor is taking steps to reconstitute the shipping claims tribunal provided for under the 1939 Act which will be asked to determine disputes.