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Merchant Shipping Act, 1854—Surgeons—Question

Volume 229: debated on Friday 5 May 1876

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asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether the provisions of Clause 230 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 17 and 18 Vic. c. 104, is strictly enforced: viz.—that

"Every foreign-going ship having one hundred persons or upwards on hoard shall carry on board, as part of her complement, some person duly authorized by law to practise as physician, surgeon, or apothecary, and in default the owner shall for every voyage of any such ship made without such medical practitioner incur a penalty not exceeding one hundred pounds;"
and, if not strictly enforced, under what circumstances has the law in this respect become a dead letter?

Sir, Section 230 of the Act of 1854, requiring every foreign-going ship to carry a duly qualified medical man on board, is by no means a dead letter. In October last the Board of Trade issued a Circular calling special attention to the duty of comparing the names of the medical officers with the Register under the Medical Act of 1858; and in February last the Board of Trade inquired of the Registrar General of Seamen, whether he was aware of any neglect in ships, either under the Passengers' Act, or Merchant Shipping Act, 1854. He reported some cases, but whether they were all cases coming under Section 230 or not he could not say. The cases, with one exception, occurred at Liverpool. The Board at once communicated with the Superintendent of that Mercantile Marine office, who, it appeared, had misunderstood the Act. Lately the Board had inquired of the superintendents of 18 of the principal ports, and from their replies it appears that the 230th section has been generally strictly enforced.