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Consideration

Volume 229: debated on Monday 22 May 1876

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Bill, as amended, considered.

On the Motion of Sir CHARLES ADDERKEY, the following new clauses were brought up, read a first and second time, amended, and added to the Bill.

After Clause 17, insert the following clause:—

(Provisions of signals of distress, inextinguishable lights, and life buoys in passenger steamers and emigrant ships.—36 & 37 Vic. c. 85, s. 18.—See 17 & 18 Vic. c. 104, s. 301.)
"Every sea-going steamship and every emigrant ship shall be provided to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade—
  • "(1.) With means for making the signals of distress at night specified in the First Schedule to 'The Merchant Shipping Act, 1873,'or in any rules substituted therefor, including means of making flames on the ship which are inextinguishable in water, or such other means of making signals of distress as the Board of Trade may previously approve; and
  • "(2.) With a proper supply of lights inextinguishable in water and fitted for attachment to life buoys.
  • "If any such ship goes to sea from any port of the United Kingdom without being so provided as required by this section, for each default in any of the above requisites the owner shall, if he appears to be in fault, incur a penalty not exceeding one hundred pounds, and the master shall, if he appears to be in fault, incur a penalty not exceeding fifty pounds."

    Page 16, after Clause 32, insert the following clause:—

    "Nothing in this Act shall apply to any ship whilst on the inland waters of Canada."

    moved, after Clause 3, to insert a new clause providing that all masters in command of British merchant ships should orderly perform, or cause to be performed, Divine service in their respective ships on the Lord's Day, and should, as far as possible, cause Sunday to be observed as a day of rest for the crew.

    Clause (Observance of the Sabbath,)—( Captain Pim,)— brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

    said, that the Government could not, as he had said in Committee—interfere with merchant ships in this particular any more than they could enforce such an observance in a private household. He must therefore oppose the clause.

    Question put, and negatived.

    proposed a new clause providing that all applicants for examination as masters, mates, and engineers, if of foreign birth, should produce papers of naturalization, showing that the applicant had been for three years previously in the exercise of the rights of a British subject.

    Clause (Foreign masters and officers,)—( Captain Pim,)— brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time,"

    objected to the clause, on the ground that it would interfere with the right of owners to contract with whatever captains they might select to command their vessels. He could see no reason why owners, being British subjects, should not employ Norwegians or any other foreigners for that purpose.

    Question put, and negatived.

    proposed a new clause, providing that any captain or person in command of a vessel under the British flag who neglected to take soundings, thereby causing the loss of such vessel, should be deemed guilty of a misdemeanour.

    Clause (Neglect of taking soundings,)—( Captain Pim,)— brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

    objected to the clause, on the ground that a special regulation with regard to neglect of soundings might imply that other kinds of neglect were less important. There were general provisions against all neglect of duty.

    Question put, and negatived.

    proposed a new clause, containing provisions whereby the justices of the peace for a county might establish training ships for the purpose of training boys for the sea service.

    Clause (Training schools and ships,)—( Captain Pim,)— brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

    objected to the clause as not coming within the scope of the Bill. He declined to enter on the merits of the proposition.

    Question put, and negatived.

    moved, after Clause 5, to insert a clause providing that an action for damages might be brought against the owner of a vessel in case of death by default of the owner.

    Clause (Action for damages against owner in case of death from default of owner,)—( Captain Pim,)— brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

    objected to the clause, on the ground that it was superfluous. The first part was provided by the 5th clause of this Bill, and the rest was a repetition verbatim of Lord Campbell's Act.

    Question put, and negatived.

    moved, after Clause 5, to insert the following clause:—

    "If a managing owner, ship's husband, or agent of any vessel, deems it necessary to ask for a survey of seaworthiness in hull, machinery, equipments, stowage, or stores for the conveyance of cargo, the Board of Trade shall, through a Board of Trade surveyor, order the vessel to be surveyed on payment of the survey fees, and in the same manner as if called upon to survey by one-fourth of the crew."
    This privilege did exist until a short time ago, when the Board of Trade issued an order to their surveyors not to make such surveys.

    Clause (Managing owners may require survey of vessel,)—( Mr. Gourley,) brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

    said, that the adoption of the clause would place on the Government a responsibility—namely, that of a general Government survey of all ships—which was especially excluded by the Bill before the House and in every Act previously passed upon the subject. It was incompatible with the objects of the Bill and antagonistic to its principles, and he must ask the House to resist the Motion. The only ground upon which the Government undertook the survey of passenger ships was the safety of passengers, and the same ground did not apply to all ships carrying cargo, with seafaring crews who knew what they were about.

    said, the Board of Trade had formerly taken a more reasonable view of this question of survey. The present proposals of the Government were most objectionable, for to encourage surveys on complaint of the crew was practically to encourage insubordination, and led directly towards such cases as those of the Lennie and the Caswell. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House were quite mistaken in supposing that the legislation of 1873 and of last Session had worked satisfactorily in relation to survey, and nobody seemed to understand the incidence of their own legislation less than the various statesmen who had from time to time directed the operations of the Board of Trade. So far from being advantageous to British shipowners, the actual result of recent legislation was simply the depreciation of British shipping. Good second-class ships were now unsaleable almost at any price, and the only buyers were foreigners who would not give half their value. The hon. Gentleman then read a telegram from Messrs. C. W. Kellock and Co. in confirmation of these statements, and concluded by supporting the clause moved by the hon. Member for Sunderland.

    would not follow the hon. Member who had just spoken into a discussion of the Act of 1873. The question before the House was, whether any shipowner having a doubtful ship should be permitted to obtain a survey from the Board of Trade? It appeared to him that a dishonest shipowner might avail himself of the proposal, and by hoodwinking the surveyors as to the real nature of the vessel, get a certificate of seaworthiness. This was the most dangerous form of Government survey ever proposed to the House, and he was glad the right hon. Gentleman would not listen to it.

    said, that the object of his hon. Friend was good, but the clause was a bad one. If it were carried, a shipowner had only to get a seaman to write a letter to the Board of Trade and send a sensational telegraph to the hon. Member for Derby, and he would get his vessel surveyed and compensation besides for detention.

    Question put, and negatived.

    moved, after Clause 15, to insert a clause providing that all British passenger ships making long voyages should take one man from the Royal Marines for every 500 tons, for the purpose of instructing the crew in fire drill, &c., except in time of war; contending that such a provision would prove beneficial both for the naval and merchant service.

    Clause (British passenger ships making long voyages to take disciplined men to teach fire drill, &c.,)—( Captain Pim,)— brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

    Question put, and negatived.

    in proposing a clause, in lieu of Clause 22, relating to the load-line and the displacement of a ship, said, it was the last he should offer to the House. What he had proposed had been from a sense of duty, because he knew of the present horrible state of the Mercantile Marine, on which we depended for the food we ate, and which, if a war broke out, would leave us to be blockaded as completely as Metz or Paris. He, however, would not proceed unless the Government gave him some hopes of their support.

    Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved the insertion of a clause, after Clause 37, to provide that under certain circumstances power should be given to local authorities to reduce local light dues, subject to the approval of the Privy Council.

    Clause (Power to reduce local light dues,)—( Mr. Sykes,)— brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

    wanted to know, in the event of the proposal being adopted, whether any charge would be thrown on the Consolidated Fund to make good the amount of light dues asked to be remitted?

    maintained that the clause was out of place, as the Bill had nothing whatever to do with light dues.

    admitted it was foreign to the general scope of the Bill, but it would prove a convenient measure, as it would enable such bodies as the Hull Trinity House to take the action they desired in the way of reducing tolls, without being put to the expense of promoting a private Bill. General lighthouse authorities had the power, and it was desirable that local authorities should by Order in Council be able to do the same.

    contended that that was not a sufficient argument for the introduction of the clause.

    held that any proposal with respect to light dues ought to be brought forward as a separate measure.

    took a similar view, and reminded the House that he had only very recently presented to the Prime Minister a memorial on the subject of lights.

    objected to its introduction into the Shipping Bill. The subject ought to be dealt with on its own merits.

    said, that after the expression of feeling which had taken place, it would be more convenient to withdraw the Amendment, which in his opinion went beyond the immediate scope of the Bill.

    Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved a clause to the effect that in all vessels with a passenger certificate from the Board of Trade when the passengers are in excess of the number which can be carried in the ordinary boats in the event of disaster at sea, such vessels should, in addition to such boats, be required to provide means for saving life by rafts or other appliances in such proportion as the Board of Trade might deem sufficient, and it should be in the discretion of the Board of Trade to allow shipowners to substitute rafts for a portion of the boats, such rafts to be approved by the Board, of Trade.

    Clause (Provision for rafts and other appliances for safety of life,)—( Colonel Beresford,)— brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

    thought the law as it stood was far better than the clause which the hon. and gallant Gentleman had proposed. His clause would require the deck to be crowded with a number of boats, two-thirds of which probably would become rotten and unusable, and certainly all of them could not be lowered or manned in case of emergency. The law provided for an ample number, and gave the Board of Trade power to alter the scale when desirable.

    said, the President of the Board of Trade was not aware of the progress of invention in life-saving appliances. The Admiralty had ordered 28 Berthon canvas boats to be stowed away conveniently in transport ships, and each ship could carry a sufficient quantity to receive every one on board in case of shipwreck. A boat of 30 feet long could be folded up into 2½ feet of space, like a cocked hat. This indifference and ignorance of the Board of Trade would continue the wasteful loss of life which might be easily prevented.

    suggested that life belts should be added to the proposal of the hon. and gallant Member, so that some second chance of safety should be provided for all. As to what had been called cocked hat boats, he feared they would have the same tendency to go below as the captain of a man-of-war in a fog.

    thought encouragement should be given to the carrying of large life rafts on board ship, and that ships should be allowed to carry no more than a certain number of passengers.

    thought the proposed clause would not be the means of saving life, but might have the reverse effect.

    believed that the Board of Trade already had sufficient powers in reference to that subject, and that no new enactments were necessary.

    said, the difficulty with regard to boats was to get them launched safely. If rafts were substituted for one or two boats, he believed it would tend to save life.

    Question put.

    The House divided:—Ayes 85; Noes 178: Majority 93.

    in moving the following clause:—

    "That from and after the first day of January, 1877, every British ship exceeding 100 tons register shall be provided with a certificate of classification or of survey from Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping, or the Liverpool Underwriters' Registry, or the Bureau Veritas,or from such other association or associations as the Board of Trade may from time to time sanction for the purpose; or a certificate of survey from the surveyor or surveyors appointed by the local marine board of the district, such surveyors to be taken from a list approved of by the Board of Trade from time to time. Such certificate shall state the fitness of the vessel for the trade in which she is employed, and the period for which such certificate is granted. Provided always, That this shall not apply to vessels having passenger or other certificates from the Board of Trade, or to any vessel or vessels which the Board of Trade may from time to time exempt,"
    said, he had placed the conditions of survey on the broadest basis. He did not confine shipowners to any one association, and all he required was a test of mere seaworthiness. The clause did not require ships to be certified A 1, or according to any letter. The surveyors could not be appointed by a better qualified body than the Local Marine Board. He proposed to exempt vessels under 100 tons from the operation of the clause, in order not to harass the owners of small coasting vessels. The effect of the clause would be to lessen interference on the part of the Board of Trade with the Mercantile Marine, and to get rid of the Courts of Survey Appeals, which would entail a large and unnecessary expenditure. What he asked for was additional security against loss of life at sea.

    Clause (Certificates of classification of British ships,)—( Mr. David Jenkins,)— brought up, and read the first time.

    Motion made, and Question, proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

    supported the clause, and hoped the Board of Trade would display its wisdom in accepting it. It was one of three or four points, the discussion upon which would determine whether the Bill was to be an efficient one for its purpose, or whether it would be such an illusory measure that those who had been engaged in the movement for the protection of life at sea would have to renew and continue it. The hon. Member for Falmouth who proposed the clause had for many years been a captain of merchant seamen, he was now an extensive shipowner, and in both capacities had much experience. The clause met all the objections which had been urged against somewhat similar attempts. It did not throw upon the Board of Trade the duty of detaining and surveying all unclassed ships, nor incurring the risk of damages and compensation if they were improperly delayed. It would not relieve the shipowner in the slightest degree from the responsibility which attached to him as to sending his ship to sea in a seaworthy state; while at the same time it secured such a satisfactory and complete certificate of seaworthiness that within a twelvemonth every ship that did not meet the proper requirements would be swept from the seas. He implored the Government, for their own sakes, to accept the clause and the House to pass it.

    supported the clause, and thought it would lessen the work of the Board of Trade. Much as he objected to compulsory classification in certain forms, he felt the Government proposals with respect to survey were so bad, that something must be done to improve them, both in the interest of the shipowners and the public. The clause of the hon. Member for Falmouth seemed to him to provide all the security which could be required with, the minimum of interferences.

    said, he objected to the proposed clause, because it presented in slightly altered terms, but essentially the same in substance, a principle which had been already discussed at great length on three separate occasions, and upon each de- cided by a large adverse majority. The Board of Trade would not be justified in detaining any ship which they had not reason to believe was unseaworthy, compensation was secured for unreasonable detention, and any person lodging a complaint in reference to a ship except one-fourth of a crew would be obliged to give security for costs. No injustice could, therefore, in the end result from the detention of a vessel, even though, she were found on survey to be seaworthy. He would not farther enter into the question of detail. The simple fact was, that the clause was identical in principle with that moved by the hon. Member for Derby when in Committee, and was antagonistic to the principle on which the Bill was founded, which threw the responsibility as to the safe condition of ships on the shipowners themselves. The objection that had been taken to previous similar suggestions, as to their throwing private societies into partnership with the Government, applied also to this. Butthere was a more objectionable point in this suggestion. There could not be a worse body to elect surveyors than the Local Marine Boards, because they consisted of the shipowners of the district, or of those immediately connected with them. The proposal of the hon. Member for Falmouth, therefore, amounted to allowing shipowners to certify the seaworthiness of their own ships. The effect of the clause would not be to relieve the Board of Trade from the duty of interfering with the Mercantile Marine, but the opposite. It would first offer to secure for the shipowner a guarantee of safety from a private society, or else from the Government; but as the Government certificate would be the easiest to procure, being necessarily of a minimum standard, in time the Government would supersede the private societies, and have the task of certifying all, or the risk of an implied certificate when its power failed of reaching all in reality. If the House should adopt the new principle proposed by the hon. Member, it would undo all they had done, and the Bill might as well, in fact, fall to the ground. He therefore confidently appealed to the House to reject the clause.

    observed, that if surveyors were wanted, and it was deemed necessary to appoint persons to control this branch of the trade of the country, those persons ought to be appointed by the Government, and ought not to consist of men appointed by a voluntary society like that of Lloyd's, who elected themselves and were not responsible to any one.

    Question put.

    The House divided:—Ayes 60; Noes 98: Majority 38.

    Clause 4 (Sending unseaworthy ships to sea a misdemeanour).

    moved, as an Amendment, in page 1, line 16, to leave out "British." Wherever their cases were parallel all vessels should be treated alike. We had a perfect right to prescribe the conditions under which cargo was to be shipped. We already did so in regard to passengers, and we had an equal right to prescribe the conditions under which either cargo or passengers were to be received; and in each case without distinction of nationality, and certainly without affording any ground for fears of retaliation on the part of foreign States so long as our regulations were reasonable. The practical question was the reasonableness of the regulations. If it was the intention of the Board of Trade to continue to interfere unreasonably with British shipping, he at once admitted the necessity of very great caution in extending such regulations to foreign vessels in our ports; but he hoped it was not yet too late for the Government to re-consider some of the provisions of this Bill. No foreign State would long tolerate the extended system of Board of Trade espionage provided for British shipping under Clause 6, and the criminal liabilities under Clause 4 were equally objectionable and likely to be equally useless. But whatever these criminal liabilities were, whether they were intended to be real or only intended to be a kind of "scarecrow,"he felt that they ought not to be confined to British shipping. They ought, if they were such as should be applied at all, to be applied equally—as regards persons residents in British ports—in the case of all vessels despatched from British ports. The crime surely did not depend upon the flag. He thought he had left the Board of Trade in a dilemma. If they meant to legislate reasonably, his Amendment could not be resisted, but the acceptance of his Amendment clearly involved others. Surely the Government would not disregard the views of every seaport in the Kingdom on such a matter. It was the undisputed fact that respectable ship-owning opinion everywhere was opposed to this clause.

    Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 16, to leave out the word "British."—( Mr. Mac Iver.)

    said, that the hon. Member appeared to know the intentions of the Government on the subject better than they did themselves, and the opinion of the seaports better than their Representatives in that House. The Government could not accept the Amendment, which would be absolutely impracticable. If carried, it would affect to make every shipowner, of whatever nationality, at whatever port in the world, who sent a ship to sea in an unseaworthy state, guilty of a misdemeanour in England. He need hardly say it was not competent for them to do that.

    as one of those who were anxious to extend the operation of this measure to foreign shipowners, felt that it was perfectly impossible to adopt the rough-and-ready plan of the hon. Member for Birkenhead.

    said, he was sorry he was not able to support the Amendment, because the hon. Member for Birkenhead had given great attention to the subject, and had made many remarks in these discussions which had been listened to with great pleasure by the House.

    Question, "That the word 'British' stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    in moving, as an Amendment, in page 1, line 20, to leave out from "misdemeanour" to the end of the clause, said, he did so for the purpose of raising discussion on that portion of the clause which allowed a shipowner to give evidence in his own defence. This was regarded as a privilege, but it was in reality an obligation and a hardship. Evidence would be expected from people who had none to give, and innocent men might find. themselves in real difficulty if "allowed," or in other words "expected," to prove their innocence.

    Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 20, to leave out after the word "misdemeanor," to the word "conviction," in page 2, line 8.—( Mr. Mac Iver.)

    protested against the provision in this clause which allowed a shipowner charged with misdemeanour to be examined as a witness in his own favour.

    Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 24, to leave out from the word "Where" to the words "as follows," in line 30, inclusive.—( Mr. Mac Iver.)

    Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    Clause 6 (Power to detain unsafe ships and procedure for such detention).

    On the Motion of Sir CHARLES ADDERLEY, the following Amendments were made:—

    In page 2, line 35, after "detained," insert "there shall be forthwith served on the master, agent, or owner of the ship a written statement of the grounds of her detention, and."
    In page 3, line 12, after "overloading," insert "and with the consent of the Board of Trade where a ship has been provisionally detained on any other ground."

    In sub-section (9), page 3, line 36, after "Trade," insert "with the consent of the Treasury."

    Clause, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 10 (Liability of Board of Trade and shipowner for costs and damages).

    On the Motion of Sir COLMAN O'LOGHLEN, Amendment made, in page 6, line 5, after the word "sole," by inserting—

    "And if the cause of action arises in Ireland, and the party aggrieved resides there, he may bring his action in any of the Superior Courts of Common Law in Ireland, and a copy of the summons or writ left at the office of the Queen's Proctor in Dublin, shall be sufficient service of the same on the Secretary of the Board of Trade."

    Clause, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 11 (Power to require from complainant security for costs).

    moved, as an Amendment, to omit the second paragraph of the clause, which provided that where a complaint was made by one-fourth of the seamen, and was not frivolous or vexatious, security from the complainant should not be required. The clause, as it stood in the Bill, would tend greatly to increase insubordination.

    Amendment proposed, in page 6, line 10, to leave out after the word "mentioned" to the word "Where," in line 18.—( Mr. Mac Iver.)

    thought the clause required modification, but he could not support the proposal of the hon. Member.

    hoped that the House would not re-open this discussion or alter the existing law and the Bill by striking out this portion of the clause.

    thought this part of the clause mischievous, and challenged the President of the Board of Trade to get up in his place and say it would work. The want of discipline on board ship was caused in a great measure by the knowledge among the seamen that this provision existed.

    said, that as the House had now agreed not to have a general survey, but merely to institute one in special cases, he thought the clause should stand in its present shape.

    opposed the Amendment. He thought there was a good deal of merit in the clause as it stood. He would remind the House that the clause provided against frivolous and vexatious complaints by the men, but would suggest that the word "seamen" should be limited by the introduction of "able" or "able and ordinary"so as to exclude stewards, cooks, cabin-boys, and other persons who in some cases outnumbered the seamen.

    said, it would be necessary, in a case of law to define the term "able seamen,"and that he thought would be a difficult matter.

    said, the words "able seamen" would exclude engineers and stokers, who might really know much more of the state of the ship than the deck hands.

    Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    moved, as an Amendment, in page 6, lines 19 and 20, to leave out the words "the complaint was made without reasonable and probable cause," in order to insert the words, "she was not at the time of such complaint unsafe within the meaning of this Act."

    Amendment proposed,

    In page 6, line 19, to leave out after the word "That" to the word "cause," in line 20, inclusive, in order to insert the words "she was not at the time of such complaint unsafe within the meaning of this Act."—(Sir Charles Adderley.)

    Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

    said, if the Amendment were made, the Board of Trade would get very little information about unseaworthy ships, for however reasonable complaints might be, this alteration would make those who raised them liable for the costs if the vessel afterwards turned out to be safe.

    urged that no objection had been raised by the hon. Member when the Bill was in Committee. The proposal was to make the same provision when the detention was caused by the seamen as when it occurred by the interference of the Board of Trade.

    said he was in favour of retaining the clause as it stood. The Amendment, if adopted, would render the clause nugatory.

    said, the Amendment was not consistent with the general provisions of the Bill. The Board of Trade might very well be made liable for costs which a private person was quite unable to bear, and that therefore a different rule might obtain in the latter case.

    said, there was no reason for making Clauses 10 and 11 in exact harmony. The clauses had better remain as they were.

    said, that different considerations arose on Clauses 10 and 11, and he objected to the proposed Amendment.

    said, he would withdraw his Amendment, and have both clauses re-considered in "another place."

    also objected to the course proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. He could not consent to the Bill leaving the House in an imperfect state and the whole thing changed in "another place."They were bound to make the Bill as complete as they could before it left that House, and he saw no reason why the Amendment should be withdrawn.

    said, the course proposed by the Government was a most inconvenient one. The Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman was a very proper one, and ought to be dealt with by the House. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would adhere to it.

    Question put.

    The House divided:—Ayes 68; Noes 122: Majority 54.

    thought the House had every reason to complain of the conduct of the Government in this instance, and said he should divide the House on the Amendment. The President of the Board of Trade having accepted an Amendment, went into the Lobby against it.

    I beg leave to say that I did not accept any Amendment. I was willing, with the permission of the House, to withdraw mine in order that the matter might be considered in "another place."

    also complained of the course pursued by the Government. The Amendment proposed by the right hon. Gentleman seemed to diminish the chief security in the Bill for life—namely, the power of detention.

    maintained that there was no justification for the complaint that had been made with regard to the course pursued by the Government. The House having declined to let the matter stand over for consideration in "another place," the Government could not have done anything else than support their own Amendment.

    Question, "That the words 'she was not at the time of such complaint unsafe within the meaning of this Act,' be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

    proposed to amend the clause by providing that in cases of urgency the owner of a passenger ship might, instead of appealing, require a Board of Trade surveyor to again make a survey, accompanied by such persons as he might select from the list of assessors, when, if they agreed, their decision would be regarded as if rendered by the Board of Trade itself; and if they differed the matter should be referred to the decision of the Board of Trade in the same manner as if the requisition had not been made.

    who supported it, said it would enable the owner of a passenger steamer, instead of going to a Court of Inquiry, to ask the Board of Trade surveyor to survey the vessel in company with an assessor. If the two agreed it would not be necessary to go to a Court of Inquiry; but if they disagreed, that course would be necessary.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 18 (Stowage of cargo of grain &c.).

    moved as an Amendment, an addition to the clause, dealing with grain cargoes, which would secure that in the case of vessels loading at the ports which were reached through the Straits of Gibraltar and those which were in the Baltic Sea the grain on the starboard side of the ship should at the least be entirely separated from that on the port side, and that not less than one-third of the grain cargo should be in sacks, bags, or barrels. The hon. Member assured the House that the Amendment he proposed was the minimum provision they could make consistently with the safety of vessels carrying grain cargoes across the Bay of Biscay as a means of preventing the shifting of the cargo from side to side.

    Amendment proposed,

    In page 10, line 16, after the word "otherwise," to insert the words "in such a manner in the case of vessels loading at the ports which are reached through the Straits of Gibraltar and those which are in the Baltic Sea as that the grain on the right or starboard side of the ship shall at the least be securely and entirely separated from that on the left or port side, and that not less than one-third of the grain cargo shall be in sacks, bags, or barrels."—(Mr. Plimsoll.)

    thought the Amendment much too minute, and that a better security for the purpose in view was given by the general penalty on insecure stowage. Besides the only officers boarding all ships arriving did not stay long enough to ascertain such minute particulars even if it were desirable to enact them.

    hoped the hon. Member for Derby would withdraw the Amendment, concurring in the objections taken to it by the President of the Board of Trade.

    expressed his opinion that the clause as it stood would be inoperative for the purposes it contemplated, and said he thought the Motion of the hon. Member for Derby should be accepted.

    suggested that the Board of Trade should in each case send a surveyor on board to see that grain cargoes were properly stowed.

    thought it impossible the provision just proposed could be carried out. The Custom House officers went on board in search of contraband tobacco and spirits, and having made the search turned off to board the next vessel, but were they to remain on board until the goods were taken out of the hold in order to ascertain how the cargo had been stowed, it would become necessary to employ a far greater number of them than at present, and that would necessitate a Supplementary Vote.

    Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.

    in moving, as an Amendment, in page 10, line 17, to leave out the word "British," said he did so in order to bring before the House a point of great importance—namely, that as the clause stood it would place the owner of a British ship carrying a grain cargo under a most stringent regulation, while it would place the foreign shipowner under no such restrictions whatever. If the Bill passed in that form, it would tend very much to drive British ships out of the trade.

    Amendment proposed, in page 10, line 17, to leave out the word "British." ( Sir W. Vernon Harcourt.)

    Question proposed, "That the word 'British' stand part of the Bill."

    thought that, under any circumstances, the Amendment would only apply to foreign ships arriving in our ports laden with grain.

    said, experience showed that foreigners were more careful of themselves and of their stowage of grain cargoes than the English, and he hoped the Government would let the clause stand as it was. The foreigner would either have to conform or he would lose his share of the carrying trade.

    supported the Amendment, remarking that he was glad to hear that foreigners were more careful than the English showed themselves to be in the matter of grain cargoes. At the present moment we were importing grain in large quantities from the Black Sea in a very unprotected manner.

    said, the Government showed their sense of the gravity of dealing with foreigners in such penal enactments by shrinking from putting clauses with this object into the Bill in the first instance. It was a step which no Government before had attempted to take, and it was only after a strong expression of opinion from the House that they decided to adopt such an extended application in the most cautious, careful, and limited manner, not, as the hon. and learned Member for Oxford seemed to think, in an unlimited and reckless way. He now proposed to them to impose a penalty on a foreign shipowner, agent, or master which would be difficult, if not impossible to carry out. We certainly could not punish foreigners for acts not committed within our jurisdiction. He must oppose the Amendment.

    wished to know whether the Government had not re- ceived a very strong representation from Canada with reference to the clause, and whether they had not asked either that all foreign vessels should be placed on the same footing with British, or else that Canadian shipping should be excluded from the operation of the Bill?

    said, that this was a repetition of the clause which appeared in the Bill of last year.

    said, there were two distinct questions raised, one was as to the general question of the fairness of the clause as it stood, and its relation to other clauses of the Bill; the other question arose with reference to Canada. The Canadian Government had been watching with considerable interest, and some uneasiness, the course of legislation on this subject. A very intelligent gentleman was over here from Canada who was well acquainted with the subject, and since he had seen the provisions made, he had felt that great part of the discontent of Canada would be modified by the alterations made. The Canadian Government did suggest either that Canadian ships should, be excluded altogether from the operation of the Bill, or that British and foreign vessels should be treated on the same footing. As to the idea of putting Canadian ships on a different footing from British ships, he did not think the Canadian Government would, on deliberation, be inclined to favour it. It would be most unfortunate to establish such a distinction between Canadian and British vessels. The object was to place foreign ships as far as could be done in the position not only of Canadian but of all British ships. The Government were not neglecting the matter and would give it their careful consideration. With regard to grain cargoes the clause was practically the clause which had been in operation for the last twelve months, and he did not think that Canadian ships would be subject to any inconvenience from it. It was necessary that some discretion should be allowed with respect to grain cargoes, particularly so far as respected foreign ships.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, as an Amendment, in page 10, line 21, the insertion of the words—

    "And it shall be the duty of the officer of customs placed on board any ship carrying grain cargo into any port of the United Kingdom to report to the Board of Trade what proportion of the said grain cargo were in bags or sacks, and whether the shifting boards were carried down to the keelson or screw-tunnel of the vessel, and if not, to what depth they were carried down."

    Amendment proposed,

    In page 10, line 21, after the word "conviction," to insert the words "and it shall be the duty of the officer of Customs placed on board any ship carrying grain cargo into any port in the United Kingdom to report to the Board of Trade what proportion of the said grain cargo was in bags or sacks, and whether the shifting boards were carried down to the keelson or screw tunnel of the vessel, and if not to what depth they were carried down."—(Mr. Plimsoll.)

    opposed the Amendment, believing that it would be impracticable to carry out the proposals of the hon. Member.

    considered it desirable that somebody should go on board every grain ship and report whether the cargo was properly stowed, and he trusted the President of the Board of Trade would assent to a provision of that kind. The other day they were all shocked by the Return which had been laid on the Table of the House respecting the loss of life in these grain ships, one of the most appalling documents that had ever been laid before the country. He considered that the hon. Member for Derby was right in proposing the Amendment, and would suggest to him the propriety of his making his provision more general, and directing the Custom House officer to make a Report to the Board of Trade on the subject.

    Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.

    moved to add to the clause a Proviso, that nothing contained in the section should affect Canadian vessels not sailing or discharging at ports of the United Kingdom. The Canadian Government were fully alive to their duties, and had already taken the initiative in this matter, but they were the fourth maritime nation in the world, and they had very important interests at stake, which it was desirable to protect.

    Amendment proposed,

    In page 10, line 21, after the word "conviction," to insert the words "Provided, That nothing in this section contained shall apply to or affect Canadian vessels not sailing to or discharging at ports of the United Kingdom."—(Mr. Edward Jenkins.)

    was afraid it would require special legislation in order to define what a Canadian vessel was. He objected to the Amendment principally, however, because it would be injudicious to legislate in this Bill exceptionally for Canada and to draw invidious distinctions in her favour.

    Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.

    Clause 19 (Space occupied by certain deck cargo to be liable to dues).

    On the Motion of SIR CHARLES ADDERLEY, Amendment made in page 10, line 31, by inserting after "goods," the words "at the time at which such dues become payable."

    moved the omission of the clause, on the ground that it was useless and unworkable. He believed it had been passed under a misapprehension, and that there had been no intention of exempting vessels engaged in the home trade from the operation of the Bill.

    supported the Amendment. The House was really not aware how it had committed itself by adopting a system of exemption which extended to nine-tenths of the deck cargoes of the home trade.

    did not believe the Committee had passed the clause in such a total misapprehension. The clause had been well considered in Committee, and he hoped the House would not now re-open the question with which it had dealt so decisively.

    Motion made, and Question, "That Clause 19, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    Clause 20 (Penalty on ships carrying deck loads of timber in winter).

    on this clause, which provided that no ship, British or foreign, arriving at any port in the United Kingdom, which had sailed from any port after the 1st of October, &c., should carry deck cargo, moved to substitute the 1st of September, as many of the heaviest gales took place in October.

    Amendment proposed, in page 11, line 5, to leave out the word "October," in order to insert the word "September."—( Mr. Macgregor.)

    Question proposed, "That the word 'October' stand part of the Bill."

    explained that the date was fixed to meet the Canadian law. The proposed alteration would in fact impose a penalty on the Canadian timber trade, in the very enactment meant to meet it, and he could not assent to it.

    said, he would withdraw his proposal; but in doing so would express a hope that an effort would be made to induce the Canadians to alter their law so as to prohibit deck cargoes in the month of October.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    On the Motion of Sir CHARLES ADDERLEY, Amendment made in page 11, line 6, by leaving out from "carry," to "any timber," in line 9, and inserting "as deck cargo, that is to say, in any uncovered space upon deck, or in any covered space not included in the cubical contents forming the ship's registered tonnage."

    moved the omission of certain words in the clause with the view of the insertion of the words "deals and battens as deck cargo" after the word "timber;" the object being to prohibit the carrying of such cargo as dangerous, and thus practically the carrying of all deck loads of timber in winter. Between the 1st October last year and the 31st January of the present year as many as 45 vessels sailing from ports in the North of Europe alone were lost in consequence of the practice of carrying deck cargo.

    Amendment proposed, in page 11, line 9, after the word "timber," to leave out all the words to the word "deck," in line 11, inclusive, in order to insert the words "deals or battens."—( Mr. Plimsoll.)

    Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

    opposed the Amendment, on the ground that it would be unwise to impose a penalty upon the regulations of Canada and increase irritation between the two countries in the very act of assimilating the laws of both. At all events, if it were wise to make this further alteration, we had better make the Amendment together, after having first got ourselves on common ground.

    maintained that the Canadians had made no objections on the subject, but the right hon. Gentleman had made the position. The correspondence proved distinctly that the Canadian Parliament had expressed their willingness to concur in any law we might pass provided foreigners were placed on the same footing as themselves.

    declared that some of the leading "Mutual Insurance"associations in the North had for some time past refused to insure vessels carrying deck loads. Deals were one of the most dangerous cargoes that could be carried in the winter months, and therefore he should vote for the Amendment.

    said, this was the most important clause of the Bill, and ought not to be disposed of without the fullest consideration. To allow a ship to be piled up on deck with battens and timber would materially interfere with her free working.

    reminded the House that the clause dealt with a very delicate question, in that it would refer not only to the condition in which ships reached this country, but that in which they sailed from the ports at which they loaded. In framing the clause an attempt had been made to adopt the Canadian law, so as to have precisely similar regulations at the ports of departure and arrival. The House was now asked to go beyond that law, and he confessed that he had heard no arguments to induce him to believe that it was desirable to pass a law more stringent than the Canadians had done. The representative of the Canadian Government, who was at present in this country, was desirous that the clause should be left as it now stood.

    did not think it followed that because Canada, when tying her own hands, had legislated in a particular manner she would object to a measure in the same direction which only extended to her the provision which it was deemed necessary to apply to other countries.

    Question put.

    The House divided:—Ayes 143; Noes 162: Majority 19.

    Question, "That the words 'deals or battens' be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

    Amendment proposed, in page 11, line 12, to leave out the word "is," in order to insert the words "deals or battens be."—( Sir Charles Adderley.)

    Question proposed, "That the word 'is' stand part of the Bill."

    moved, on account of the lateness of the hour, that the debate should be adjourned.

    expressed a hope that as the remaining Amendments were mostly of a formal character the Bill might be proceeded with.

    Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—( Mr. Parnell,)—put, and negatived.

    Question, "That the word 'is' stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.

    Other Amendments made.

    Clause, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 22 (Marking of load line).

    moved an Amendment on the clause, with the object of securing that the loading of a ship should be in conformity with the principle of a sufficiency of surplus buoyancy, as customary for the description of the vessel and the circumstances of the voyage.

    Amendment proposed,

    In page 12, line 8, after the word "mark," to insert the words "in conformity with the principle of a sufficiency of surplus buoyancy as customary for the description of vessel and the circumstances of the voyage."—(Mr. Charles Wilson.)

    said, that an owner might fix an improper load-line, no doubt; but still he did not think that the Amendment now proposed would work well. The object of the hon. Member would be better attained by inserting in the 2nd sub-section words to the effect that the disc line should be placed at such a draught of water as to the best of his judgment was a safe and proper immersion. That would require the owner to fix an honest load-line.

    agreed with the hon. Member who had just spoken. He considered the Amendment proposed had no meaning whatever. That a ship should be loaded sufficiently and as was customary was no definition at all.

    Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.

    then proposed the insertion in the clause, after the word "centre," of the words—

    "In a position approved as reasonable either by the builder of the ship or some other independent and competent authority."
    He made the proposal, he said, by way of Amendment on the owner's line pure and simple, which was admitted by every one who was practically acquainted with the matter to be a delusion and a snare.

    Amendment proposed,

    In page 12, line 13, after the word "centre," to insert the words "in a position approved as reasonable either by the builder of the ship or some other independent and competent authority."—(Mr. Plimsoll.)

    took an entirely different view from that of the hon. Member of the clause as it stood, and said experience had shown, and the Chief Surveyors had reported, that at all the principal ports in the country the disc had been placed in a bonâ fide way in almost every case. Besides, the opinion of the builder was not likely to be an independent one; it would probably be given so as to please his employer, the owner.

    believed the clause had worked very well on the whole, and put the responsibility on the right shoulders.

    Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.

    Clause 24 (Application to foreign ships of provision as to detention).

    On the Motion of Sir Charles Adderley, the following Amendments were made in the clause:—

    Page 13, line 13, leave out "five," and insert "six;"

    Page 13, lines 13 and 14, leave out subsection 1;

    Page 13, lines 19 to 25, leave out subsection 3, and insert—

  • "(2.) Where a ship has been provisionally detained, the consular officer, on the request of the owner or master of the ship, may require that the person appointed by the Board of Trade to survey the ship shall be accompanied by such person as the consular officer may select, and in such case if the surveyor and such person agree, the Board of Trade shall cause the ship to be detained or released accordingly, but if they differ, the Board of Trade may act as if the requisition had not been made, and the owner and master shall have the appeal to the court of survey touching the report of the surveyor which is before provided by this Act; and
  • "(3.) Where the owner or master of the ship appeals to the court of survey the consular officer, on the request of such owner or master, may appoint any competent person who shall be assessor in such case in lieu of the assessor who, if the ship were a British ship, would be appointed otherwise than by the Board of Trade.
  • "In this section the expression 'consular officer'means any consul general, vice consul, consular agent, or other officer recognized by a Secretary of State as a consular officer of a foreign State."

    Clause, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 25 (Appointment, duties, and powers of wreck commissioners for investigating shipping casualties).

    On Motion of Sir COLMAN O'LOGHLEN, Amendment made in page 13, line 32, after "Commissioners," insert—

    "And in case it shall become necessary to appoint a Wreck Commissioner in Ireland, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland shall have the appointment and the power of removal of such "Wreck Commissioner."

    Clause, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 26 (Assessors and rule of procedure on formal investigations into shipping casualties).

    Amendment proposed, in page 14, line 10, to leave out the words "one of."—( Mr. Mac Iver.)

    Question, "That the words 'one of' stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    Clause 31 (Ships'managing owner or manager to be registered).

    On the Motion of Mr. Norwood, Amendment made in page 16, line 4, leave out all after "registry," and insert—

    "Where there is not a managing owner there shall be so registered the name of the ship's husband or other person to whom the management of the ship is entrusted by or on behalf of the owner; and any person whose name is so registered shall, for the purposes of the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876, be under the same obligations, and subject to the same liabilities, as if he were the managing owner.
    "If default is made in complying with this section the ship may be detained until compliance."

    Clause, as amended, agreed to.

    Other Amendments made.

    Bill to be read the third time upon Thursday.