I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he intends to take any steps to carry out the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Labour with reference to increasing the seamen's accommodation on board of ship, from 72 cubic feet to 120 cubic feet; what accommodation is allowed to convicts, soldiers, and paupers; why the Board of Trade does not insist on shipowners who carry Lascar seamen on board of their ships, allowing these men the 72 cubic feet of space as set forth in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1872; whether it is a fact that on board of several steamships comveying Her Majesty's mails, and who carry Lascar crews, that these men are only allowed 36 cubic feet of space; and what steps he intends to take with a view of enforcing the Merchant Shipping Act on board of all vessels, and especially on those vessels receiving a subsidy for the carrying of Her Majesty's mails?
Such steps as the Board of Trade have been able to take (without fresh legislation) with regard to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Labour affecting seamen, have already been taken, and are explained in a paper (c. 7540–1894) recently presented to Parliament. The question of increasing the minimum crew space allowance will be considered when an opportunity for legislation occurs. I am unable to furnish the hon. Member with particulars of the accommodation allowed on transports or other vessels not coming under Board of Trade survey. All British merchant vessels (whether carrying Her Majesty's mails or not) are required to have for each seaman or apprentice a space of not less than 72 cubic feet; and penalties are provided for contravention of this requirement. Complaints have, however, recently been made to the Board of Trade that, in certain vessels carrying Lascar seamen only the space (36 cubic feet for each man) required by the Indian Act, has been provided. The owners of these vessels have been informed that the provisions of the Imperial Act must be complied with, and the matter is receiving the careful attention of the Board of Trade surveyors. Representations have also been made to the Secretary of State for India.